Updated: 6:45 p.m.
Like all solid NFL cornerbacks, Leon Hall has the ability to hit the reboot button and lose all saved memory but not his mind.
Even before you get into the Peyton Manning discussion regarding Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium, Hall knows all about paranormal activity in a Cincinnati-Denver game.
It will be recalled that wide receiver Brandon Stokley is the only thing left from the Broncos offense that orchestrated one of the bloodiest and most unbelievable moments in Bengals history. Stokley caught that 87-yard Spike Strike off the hands of Hall with 11 seconds left to turn a certain 7-6 defensive masterpiece in the 2009 opener into a 12-7 loss before the stunned faithful at PBS.
"I have no recollection of the event in question," Hall said Monday as the Broncos return to PBS for the first time since, and that can be a teachable moment for his current crop of Bengals.
"You could say what-if, but I don't like living in that world. Because what if we were 5-2 now instead of 3-4? All of that stuff doesn't matter," he said after Monday's practice.
The Bengals should have been sent reeling, but they recovered to win the next four and sweep the division in a season where Hall and cornerback Johnathan Joseph were thought to be the team's co-MVPs.
"The thing with that game is defensively we played really well. We were ticked about that last play and how that happened but looking at the film we played pretty well. We kind of looked at it as such," said Hall, who remembers how Joseph nearly ended the game two snaps before. "He picked it, it but it was out of bounds. It was close. Crazy game."
It was Sept. 13, 2009 and it's easy for everyone now to say that Hall should have batted it to the ground. But even though he hasn't seen the play since that week when it was The Play of the Week, he knows that team didn't dwell on it like this team can't dwell on 3-4.
"Looking back you want to hit it down on the ground. But it happened. It was weird. Just get over it," Hall said. "It's one of the more amazing plays that you will see outside looking in but from the inside looking out it was one of the more unfortunate plays."
So, yes, he'll see Stokley in there. But that's all.
"It's totally different. The personnel. He'll be in there. I haven't thought about that game to be quite honest," Hall said.
WAITING ON SIMS: The Bengals have another week to get defensive tackle Pat Sims into practice as he remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. His three-week window ends next week, but once he gets on the field another three-week window opens in which the Bengals have to decide to activate him, cut him or put him on season-ending injured reserve.
Sims went on PUP after missing the entire preseason with a hamstring problem and Lewis indicated Monday he wants to make sure Sims is in good enough condition to start practicing.
"We're waiting on Pat to where Pat can help us. He's being given certain guidelines to do so that he can achieve it quickly. He's got some time," Lewis said.
The 6-2, 335-pound Sims has been one of the more consistent run players the Bengals have had when he's been healthy. It's not all about him. But the numbers say he helps. In the 10 games before his season ended last year with two ankle injuries, the Bengals gave up 3.4 yards per rush. In the 13 games since they are giving up 4.6.
LEONARD BACK: The Bengals are hoping they get a boost from the return of third-down back Brian Leonard against the Broncos. Leonard (rib) missed last week's game against the Steelers but apparently the bye was good to him because he was back on the practice field Monday when the Bengals returned to work with a 90-minute morning workout on the game field. He says he did individuals and he'll be full go Wednesday.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones (knee) was on the field in sweats and not practicing. Same with center Jeff Faine (hamstring).
"I was close," Leonard said of last week. "I could've went out there and took one hit and been out of the game and that would've hurt the team and I would've been out more than one week. It would have hurt the team, too, because we'd be short one player. So I think it was good I stayed out that one week. Now it's had time to scar down and it feels pretty good."
Third down has been a huge trouble spot for the Bengals offense while Manning has been at his best converting them. While Cincinnati's Andy Dalton is last in the AFC with a 62.3 passer rating on third down, Manning is third at 106.8 and the Broncos are fifth-best in the NFL on third down while the Bengals are next-to-last.
"On first and second down we're not getting too many negative plays. It's not always third-and-15. We've had some third-and-7, third-and-5, and that's good to be in that position. But we haven't executed on third down, which we need to start doing," Leonard said. "We have the players to make the plays. We've got to catch the ball, we've got to run the right routes, we've got to protect Andy and make throws. We can do that, and we need to start doing that."
Four of Manning's receivers are among the AFC leaders with at least six third-down catches: Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (12), Eric Decker (seven) and Brandon Stokley (six), as well as tight end Jacob Tamme (seven). The Bengals have two with at least six with slot receiver Andrew Hawkins's eight and tight and Jermaine Gresham's seven.
The Bengals defense is ranked right in the middle at No. 16 for stopping third downs while the Broncos defense is at No. 20.
BEACH NIGHTMARE: Long-snapper Clark Harris, the Bengals answer to Tom Browning, the Reds Mr. Perfect, had a less than ideal bye weekend.
Harris's visit to his relatively new home in Manahawkin, N.J., right on the bay near Long Beach Island, is being buffeted by Hurricane Sandy. When his flight from Philadelphia back to Dayton, Ohio got canceled Sunday, he didn't want to miss Monday's practice so he told his wife to stay with their four-month-old at his parents' home while he rented a car to drive back.
But she insisted on everyone going and it took the family about 12-and-a half hours to make the drive, although Harris couldn't understand how safety Jeromy Miles's flight left about four hours after his was canceled.
"My house is presently in the process of being demolished probably by this hurricane. I'm right on the shore. I am 30 minutes north of Atlantic City right on the bay," Harris said. "I got water in my backyard and everything. It is probably going to be in my house by, probably about now.
"There's nothing you can do about it. I've got to be back here for practice. I can't stop a hurricane from coming. So, whatever happens happens. I've got flood insurance for a reason."
But he may not have the home he bought a year ago.
"I've only spent three or four months total there during the offseason. Also, we haven't really gotten use out of it," he said. "In a couple years I planned on ripping it down anyway, so if I have to do it a little sooner, I've got to do it a little sooner."
But both Leonard and rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu got out of Jersey on time Sunday when they flew out of Newark, although Leonard said Sanu snuck one past him and got on an earlier flight. Leonard, who used to live in Hoboken, spent the weekend at his friend's in Morristown, N.J.
"He already had a tree fall on his fence outside, and he just bought a brand new house," Leonard said. "The storm hasn't even really started yet and a tree already fell. He lives in an area where there are a lot of trees around his house, so hopefully it will be OK."
The family of linebacker Vincent Rey has been evacuated from their Far Rockaway, N.Y., home that sits about a nine route from the Atlantic. Rey, who stayed in Cincinnati for the weekend once he heard the weather report, said he was stunned the subway was closed. His father drives the A train under Manhattan and he says he can't ever remember his father not going to work because of weather.
*QB TALK: *After perusing the NFL's slate of games on his bye Sunday, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was asked after Monday's practice what stood out. With Manning and his Broncos up next Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium and Dalton on pace to throw more than 20 interceptions, Lewis didn't hesitate.
"You have to play (well) at quarterback in order to win. That stands out," Lewis said. "If you look at each and every game. Look at the Dallas-Giants game. Offensively Dallas didn't get off to a great start (because of) whoever. You have to take care of the ball on offense. You have to play efficiently at quarterback. That's the way it is when you look at the games across the league ... turnovers beat you."
LEWIS DOESN'T SEE TRADE: Rams running back Steven Jackson isn't going to be a Bengal. Lewis said Monday there are no indications the Bengals are going to make a deal before Tuesday's trade deadline that has been pushed back because of the storm. If the Bengals want any Rams back it would be rookie Isaiah Pead, the University of Cincinnati product they coveted in the draft. But even though he's hardly playing, the Rams aren't apparently going to give him up.
"I don't envision anything," Lewis said of a move.
The Bengals traditionally don't trade draft choices and Jackson is a big-ticket item that hits them at a time their salary cap isn't as flexible as it has been in the wake of the Jeff Faine signing and several million dollars tied up on injured reserve.