Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor
It's amazing what a good defense can do to a quarterback controversy.
Last week, quarterback Matt Cassel looked like a world beater against Philadelphia's 31st-ranked passing defense. Against the Bengals, Cassel looked a lot like Christian Ponder. He had four turnovers in the game, with three of them in the first half that helped Cincinnati jump out to a 28-7 lead.
The first turnover came on Cassel's first pass attempt of the game. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Bengals' 46-yard line, Cassel fumbled the ball on a sack by Vincent Rey. The ball was returned to the Vikings' 4-yard line, and the Bengals scored two plays later.
The second didn't even give the Bengals offense a chance to convert it into points, as Rey returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown.
The third came with 9:22 left in the second quarter. On a 2nd-and-10 from the 25-yard line, wide receiver Jerome Simpson had beaten the Bengals' defense deep down the field, and Cassel woefully under threw the ball for his second interception.
He only played slightly better in the second half with a single interception. He finished 13-of-27 passing with one touchdown and three interceptions. The Bengals put pressure on Cassel the entire game. He was sacked four times and hit another six times as he struggled to establish any kind of rhythm on offense.