Since I’v been hard on the Bengals in the past, and Marvin Lewis in particular, I want to be sure and give credit when it’s due. It may be a little bit early to start jumping on the band wagon, especially with a team that has the history of the Bengals, but they should be commended for their more recent efforts.
Were it not for a freak play at the end of game 1, the Bengals would be looking at a 3-0 record. As it is, they are 2-1, which is exactly one game above .500. That being said, I won’t be buying any Super Bowl tickets just yet. But, the Bengals definitely did give their fans something to be excited about this past Sunday.
With time winding down, the Bengals were able to drive 71 yards and cap off a 16 play drive with a touchdown to narrowly defeat the Steelers by a score of 23-30. In that final drive, the Bengals face a couple of 4th down conversions. On the last one, it was 4 & 10 on the Steelers 15. On the play, all of the Bengal receivers were covered, except Palmer’s last option–Brian Leonard out of the backfield. Leonard caught the ball around the 8 or 9 and knew he had to make it to the 5. It looked like he was going to be dragged down, but Leonard clawed and lunged for the yard marker to barely pick up the first down. With the clock still running, Plamer had to spike the ball to stop the clock.
Finally, with 14 seconds to go, palmer hits Caldwell to go up by one. He then hit Leonard on the 2 point conversion to go up by 3.
So who were the difference makers? Can you say Benson Ball? After running for 18 yards in the first half, Cedric benson gained 58 in the 2nd half, including a 23 yard touchdown run where he was untouched. More importantly, his grinding help keep Roethlisberger’s offense off the field. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done.
That and 2 new additions to the team that were let go by their former NFL teams: Andre Caldwell and Brian Leonard–both of whom made clutch catches.
Benson Ball–that has a nice ring to it.