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November 17, 2009 by Palmer Sucks



�Sucks Says

Random Rants by PalmerSucks

November 17, 2009



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The Bengals� �Contain Box�


Above is an illustration of the Bengals� defensive strategy to handle Roethlisberger�s scrambling.Note the position of the DE�s as they rush, beingcareful to remain below Big Ben: contain, then collapse. Often the Bengals� D worked off overloads, something I witnessed firsthand in Philadelphia vs. the Eagles last year (trust me, it was painful to watch). The Bengals� ends are more interested in ringingBen than rushing him,slowly squeezing the pocket, which buys the QB time but makes moving around more difficult. It�s a tactic that both limits Ben�s �jailbreak� plays, and takes advantage of his tendency to hold on to the ball. Expect the Stillers to see a lot more of this look from opposing defenses.


This time there were no dropped Stiller TDs (well OK, one), no cheap Bengals� pick-sixes off blown routes. No, unlike last time, the Cincy Bengals (not Bungals) strapped it on and shoved 60 minutes of Billy Cowher football down our throats.

This time there were no fluke wins, but rather a party like it was 1999, a foul festival of field goals and field position that only a Billy Ball fan could love. The Bengals came in and slugged it out, and somehow left Pittsburgh with a W in their pockets.

Not that the Stiller D didn�t do its best to keep that from happening � the Bengals� offense notched a whole 9 points on its own, never threatening to score a TD even when they were set up inside the Stillers� 15 by a pick return. The Stillers stopped the vaunted Cincy run game cold, holding Benson to 22 on 7 carries, and doing an even better job on his replacement. Even so, the game never came down to what I�d hoped: the pressure was never on Carson Palmer, the Choker, the Gagger, the Throat Roadblock, the Heimlich Pirate, to win the game with his arm.

Even with the Stillers� D stacked to stop the run, Palmer could only manage a measly 76.8 QB rating, with a putrid 5.9 YPA (like Bengals fans say, the team is really rolling with a healthy Carson Palmer, huh?).But it would be the Stillers who would haveto play catch-up, thanks to yet another kick-return TD.

Not that the Choker didn�t try to gag the game away: I counted at least 3 big softballs he served up, the last one a painful drop with the Stiller defender having an acre of empty space in front of him (I�m looking at you, Ryan Clark). Like I said in the pre-game, the Bengals needed to win the turnover battle to win the game, and once again they did.

So hats off to the Bengals, whose Cowheresque scheme resulted not only in a win, but a stranglehold on the North. Clearly they were the more physical team on the day.

But beware, Bengals fans � Billy Ball is a fickle mistress. She can make you pretty happy during the regular season, but come playoff time, she�ll provide you with plenty of misery. If this is what the Bengals are really about � defense, run game and QBing that�s along for the ride � then I for one would love to see the Stillers get another crack at these guys.

Considering the Bengals� D-line strategy diagrammed above, I found the Stillers� play calling pretty puzzling. Where were the screens, the waggles, the boots, the roll-outs? You know, plays designed to give the QB some space to roam and buy some time � and break the Bengals contain box.

The one screen the Stillers ran, a blooper to Moore, went for a nice gain. Instead of sticking with it and forcing an adjustment from the Bengals, the team went back to the same mid- and deep-range passes that left Ben standing there like a tree stump.

Forget complaining about Ben holding the ball too long, by the way; this is just how he rolls. It�s up to the play caller to deal with this. And sometimes the way to deal with it is to take the ball out of the QB�s hands where was the commitment to the run against the Bengals, a team Stiller RBs have made careers out of facing? 13 carries by Mendenhall in a drag-out like this doesn�t cut it. Worse, the Stillers only went to him 6 times in the first half. If ever there was a day for jumbo TE sets, this was it.

Is there anyone on the team who can kick off besides Jeff Reed? Why not try Sepulveda � I doubt he can do worse than land kicks at the 5 with the return man catching in full stride. At least we won�t have to watch the kicker not even bother to try and tackle the returner as he blows on by.

I have a feeling we�ll see some roster moves this week, as the kick coverage has moved beyond mere joke to serious threat to the season. Otherwise the team can give serious consideration to kicking off out of bounds from now on.

3 weeks into the season I began to think of the Stillers as a wild-card team, a prediction that looked foolish once the team began its win streak. Now that Cincy has a stranglehold on the division, I�m beginning to second-guess myself again. I�m wondering if the race for the division really is as over as some suggest.

I�m not ready to throw in the Terrible Towel just yet, mainly because I believe the Bengals have an upset left in them. No, I don�t think it will be vs. the Raiders as some believe, but rather another unlikely opponent: the Cleve Brownies. The Bengals still must face the Minny Vikes, and I believe their D has a post-Thanksgiving carving coming at the hands of Philip Rivers and the Chargers

Of course, even a number-one seed would be eliminated with an overall lackadaisical effort as the one shown Sunday. Who knows, maybe the underdog route is once again the path to take for the Stillers.

Sign seen at the Brownies-Ravens Monday Nighter: �if one Ohio team can beat Pittsburgh, why can�t we?� Good to see we�re still so heavy on their minds. I wonder what would get Browns fans off more: winning a Super Bowl, or seeing the Stillers lose one?

Speaking of the Ravens, they looked less than impressive in beating Cleveland. This is a team that�s taken a big step backwards this year. Stillers� must-win: the Sunday Nighter in Baltimore, which should be known as the �Boo Hoo Bowl� considering how the Ravens cried to the league to get it played in Crabtown.

(The views of PalmerSucks are not necessarily those of � but should be.)


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