Are The Cincinnati Bengals For Real?

Robert QuinnCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2009

BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 11:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 11, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Bengals defeated the Ravens 17-14. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Baltimore Ravens in a dramatic victory. Ed Reed ran back a 52-yard Interception for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter giving the Ravens a 7-3 lead at halftime. Baltimore's defense looked impenetrable for the entire first half. However, in the 3rd quarter the Bengals came out of the locker room fierce, and determined. RB Cedric Benson, who was once cast off by the league, rushed for 120 yards, breaking a 28 yard rush for a TD. Benson was the first rusher in over 40 games to gain over 100 yards.

With Cincinnati leading 13-10, second year Quarterback Joe Flacco connected on a screen pass to Ray Rice for a 48 yard Touchdown, giving Baltimore the lead.

The game seemed over, as the Bengals had the ball on their 20-yard line with just over 2 minutes to play. Carson Palmer exhibited great leadership and pocket presence, and with the help of penalties that brought the Bengals down the field. Carson Palmer hit Andre Caldwell for a 20 yard, game winning touchdown pass.

After these unprecedented victories coming from a team that hasn't really met expectations in recent years, we now ask ourselves, "Could the Cincinnati Bengals be for real?" 
Well, for one they have the leading rusher in the NFL. Yep, not AP, not Michael Turner, not LT. CEDRIC BENSON. He has carried the ball well all season long, and has converted 3rd downs in key situations. 
Another surprise is the play of Chad "OchoCinco." Throughout the Hard Knocks series, he made a fool of himself, changing his last name, implementing the famous "Child, Please," leading many to believe the team was a joke. Chad Ochocinco is 10th in the league in receiving, with 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has tuned the antics down a notch, deleting his beloved Twitter account, and is finally being the team player he needs to be. The Bengals have the players and skills to be a contender, but let's see how they fare down the stretch.