Ox Posted November 20, 2007 Report Share Posted November 20, 2007 Bengals drove, fans took offLate exodus by beaten crowd speaks volumesWith 1:56 to play and their team holding the ball with a chance to tie the game, Bengals fans, worn down and beaten up by a lifetime of games like this, crammed onto the down escalator in the south end zone. As their once-vibrant offense took the field 68 yards from paydirt, the fans couldn't leave fast enough. They jammed the escalator, heading down and out. They'd seen enough."We noticed," defensive tackle John Thornton remarked afterward. "I can't blame them. These fans have seen a lot of bad football. We were grateful for the fans that stayed."Maybe 5,000 folks remained to witness Carson Palmer's fourth interception, with 49 seconds to play. They expressed their disapproval. The boos bounced around a stadium emptied of everything but futility. Bengalization has settled in for a long winter's nap.Two mediocre teams played mediocre football. The less mediocre team won. It was fitting that the two worst franchises in the NFL in the last 17 seasons conspired to produce a dog like this. Arizona 35, Bengals 27. Refunds are not forthcoming.Was that a bad football game, or what?Drops, tips, penalties, fumbles, interceptions. The whole screw-up catalog.Once, the Cardinals were penalized for a block in the back ... when they were the kicking team.What?The mind dulls.Kurt Warner was 1-for-1 left-handed, for 22 yards.Chad Johnson - zero TDs since Game 2 - fumbled at the Arizona 10 without being hit, mainly because he was carrying the ball like the Olympic torch. Chris Henry had two drops.Palmer had the first four-pick game of his career, against a wounded secondary that isn't great when healthy. Palmer also stumbled and fell backward once, while dropping to pass. There's a metaphor there somewhere, if you're looking.The teams had 11 penalties each. The Cardinals had a punt blocked. The Bengals allowed two interceptions to be returned for touchdowns. The Cardinals elected to stop playing offense in the fourth quarter. They begged to be beaten. The Bengals had four possessions in the fourth quarter and didn't score.The closest either team came to execution was the round-off, backflip combo performed by Cardinals cornerback Antrel Rolle in the end zone after his second interception return for a touchdown. The Russian judge gave him a 9 for missing the landing.Whoop-whoop-whoop.There ought be a statute of limitations on fan suffering. Marvin Lewis did give the bedraggled locals a four-year breather, but that era has expired, worn down by the weight of bad ownership and inexorable history. One team rose above the tonnage of its sad legacy Sunday. The other saw its fans bail out with the game on the line.How can a team with so much young potential two years ago look so entirely lost now?Remember when the pass-happy Bengals stretched the field from pillar to post? When the offense took what it wanted, not What The Defense Gave It? Chad! TJ! Slim!Well, forget that.In one second-quarter drive, Palmer threw 10 straight times, for all of 59 yards, leading to a 38-yard field goal. The running game is so invisible, the Cardinals dropped about 15 people into coverage on almost every play. Meanwhile, the defense played just well enough to lose. Kurt Warner knows what he's doing, but not enough to have a QB rating of 104.9. He's a backup, for goodness sake.We keep hearing from the talent how talented this team is. We keep hearing about the need to be consistent. The NFL rides the Parity Train. Going into Sunday's games, 14 teams were either 5-4 or 4-5. The difference, we are told, is preparation, adjustments and, of course, "execution.''When you are talented and are 3-7, you aren't preparing, you aren't adjusting and you aren't executing. In most organizations, that would signal a need for sweeping change. The Bengals organization doesn't see it that way.Nearly 66,000 people filled Paul Brown Stadium at 1:05 Sunday. The fact that 60,000 of them didn't stick around to the end of a winnable game should speak volumes. Here, the ears will be deaf. Bet on that.E-mail email@example.com://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...COL03/711190349 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.