Sunday’s game was just about the perfect scenario for Bengals fans. Not only did their beloved men in stripes win their third-straight game, but they also stuck it to former quarterback Carson Palmer in a big way.
There were a lot more winners than losers in Cincinnati’s 34-10 win over Oakland. Let’s take a look.
Winner — Bengals Fans
Palmer, who forced his way out of Cincinnati last year, didn’t break 150 yards passing and was part of two turnovers in the blowout loss—something that had to make Bengals fans giddy. The win was more important, but this was the cherry on the sundae.
Winner — Andy Dalton
While Palmer struggled, Dalton was spectacular while throwing three touchdown passes without an interception. Dalton is a confident guy—and I’m sure he has never looked over his shoulder—but this kind of performance in front of Palmer solidifies his presence in the locker room.
Winner — Mohamed Sanu
Many predicted big things for the rookie out of Rutgers, but other than throwing a touchdown pass, he hasn’t lit the world on fire. However, he has slowly heated up in the past couple of weeks and caught two touchdown passes on Sunday.
Winner — Defensive Line
The unit continues to impress, and it’s hard to single out one guy as any better than the rest. Geno Atkins had his ninth sack and should start to get some talk for defensive player of the year—while nearly everyone else had a big play.
Winner — Mike Nugent
There weren’t too many happy fans when he sent a 40-yard field goal attempt wide and right into the stands. But he redeemed himself just a few minutes later with a booming 55-yarder that tied the team record.
Winner — Chris Crocker
Crocker picked up his third interception just a month after watching games on the couch. The secondary was the weakest component of the team earlier in the season; is it a coincidence that it has gotten better since Crocker was re-signed?
Winner — Andrew Whitworth
Sure, losing one of the top left tackles in the game to an ejection could have been a game changer, but watching Whitworth come to his quarterback’s defense was great to see. Of course, there was a 17-point lead at the time, but still, it shows the kind of respect Dalton has among his teammates.
Winner — Mike Brown
The Bengals' owner held onto Palmer last year when everybody said to let him go and then traded him for a first-round and a second-round draft pick. On Sunday, the trade officially became lopsided, and Brown looked like a genius. It’s not often that the words “genius” and “Mike Brown” are in the same sentence.
Loser — The Bengals’ third quarter
OK, we’re nitpicking here, but the article is called “Winners and Losers.” The Bengals took a 24-0 lead into the half but didn’t set the world ablaze in the second half. The team will need to do a better job of closing out games in the future.