Posted: 4:20 p.m.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer came in full battle gear for Wednesday's practice after two weeks the Bengals have allowed 74 points. Before the players went to their position drills, Zimmer called the defense into a huddle.
He wouldn't elaborate on what he said to a group now ranked last in the league in third-down conversion ("It's a private matter," he said), but he did allow that he was stunned at the poor performance of his players that allowed Texans quarterback Matt Schaub to ring up a 144 passer rating and wide receiver Andre Johnson to roll up 143 yards.
Zimmer "We had the best week of practice we had all year," Zimmer said after Wednesday's practice. "I was shocked the way we played in the second half. I knew they were explosive offensively, but we gave up too many big plays, we didn't play well. It was extremely disappointing. (Keith Rivers) made a bunch of tackles when he was in there but not having him didn't cause us to play like we did last week. We played badly in the secondary, we tackled badly, we did a lot of things that bad teams do."
Schaub's effortless 24-of-28 passing smacks in the face of Zimmer's philosophy of disrupting receivers at the line of scrimmage and contesting every throw whether it's against a man or zone defense. After keeping big-play receivers Terrell Owens and Plaxico Burress relatively in check earlier in the season, the Bengals let Johnson toy with them.
"We didn't do it very well last week," Zimmer said of disruption. "We didn't do a lot of things differently against Johnson than we did against Owens and Burress. We rolled up on him a lot, we doubled him. We did a lot of things to him and he ran through a lot of stuff. There were a couple of plays in there that was just our bad plays, and there were a couple of situations we didn't get matched up the right way.
"They're an extremely explosive offense, we played just like crap in the second half."
Asked about former Bengals receiver Kevin Walter getting the best of first-round draft pick Johnathan Joseph at cornerback in some matchups, he said, "Johnathan Joseph hasn't played very well in two weeks. He has to get going. I don't think (he's lost confidence), I just think he played bad. He needs to play good."