After coming off of a terrible season last year in which he caught only four touchdown passes and had a total of 540 receiving yards, at age 30, one could say that maybe Chad Ochocinco’s skills were on the decline. Before the season began he was trying to force a trade and causing up a lot of controversy. This season began a little different. After getting inspiration from Ray Lewis and Denzel Washington, Ochocinco returned this season more determined, more focused, and more like his 2007 self when he had a career high in receiving yards (1,440) and caught eight touchdown passes. Another thing that returned from his past was his cornerback hit list. Only this time instead of asking “who covered number 85 in ‘05”, the list asked who “kissed the baby”, slang for it’s all over, in ’09.
The list was titled “Dulce Venganza” by Ochocinco who said when he was interviewed by the media, “This season for me is what I like to call ‘sweet revenge’ for those who all counted me out. Basically everybody on this list has to pay for what happened last year.” So with the first half of the season coming to an end, the question is who on his list has “kissed the baby”? This may be a hard question to answer for many since Ochocinco didn’t give anyone determining factors on what he must do in order for opposing defensive backs to meet this fate. That’s where this article comes in.
To determine which group of defensive backs “kissed the baby” we will look at whether or not how productive Ochocinco was compared to the defensive backs he listed on his list and how big of a contribution he made to his team in a victory (if a team victory occurred.). So now that we have the guidelines in place, let’s take a look at the games he has played in so far while also previewing who will be his next victims in the first half of this season.
El Empezando (The Beginning)
The Broncos (Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman)
In the first game of the season Ochocinco and The Bengals took on the Broncos in what was a game all about defense. The final score was 12-7 in which the Bengals took the loss. Ochocinco had a productive game, catching five passes for 89 yards and averaged over 17 yards per reception. Also, in the five passes that he caught, all of them resulted in first downs.
Despite this, his productivity was overlooked in the media due to the amazing play made by Broncos’ wide receiver Brandon Stokley in which he caught a pass off of a deflection and scored the game winning touchdown. Because of that play one thing another fact that was overlooked is that Ochocinco was the leading receiver in yards that day out of the receivers on both teams.
So with all that said if you compare Ochocinco’s productivity to Bailey and Goodman’s productivity then it’s easy to determine that Ochocinco succeeded in his goal to make Bailey and Goodman “kiss the baby”
Verdict: Bailey and Goodman kissed the baby – 1-0-0 (win-loss-tie)
The Bengal Leap
The Packers (Charles Woodson and Al Harris)
In this game Ochocinco set two goals. One was the same as last week’s and the second was to score a touchdown and perform Lambeau Leap afterwards. He completed the second goal but in order to determine if he completed the first goal we have to look at the stats. Ochocinco caught four passes which resulted in 91 yards receiving and, unlike the last game, one of those catches was a touchdown pass on a 13-yard slant. A slant that made the Packers’ secondary look confused and foolish and it seemed to be the result of miscommunication by the safeties. It was also a key play considering the timing of the touchdown since it occurred in the third quarter to break a tie a put the Bengals up 28-21.
On the opposite side of the ball Packers’ cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted a pass that was meant for Ochocinco. He also intercepted another pass and returned it for a touchdown. Al Harris didn’t intercept a pass and only recorded 4 total tackles.
So given the fact that Ochocinco clearly had a big impact on the game and his impact resulted in a victory for the Bengals, you would have to give the slight edge in this match-up to Ochocinco even thought Woodson played a great game also. You just can’t argue with an Ochocinco’s touchdown or the fact that Harris didn’t play as well as Woodson did.
Verdict: Woodson and Harris kissed the baby – 2-0-0
The Theft in Pittsburgh
The Steelers (Ike Taylor and William Gay)
Even though the Bengals won this game Ochocinco really didn’t have a stellar performance since he was held to only five catches, three of them resulting in first downs. He was also held to 54 yards receiving and didn’t catch any touchdown passes despite the fact that he was still the games leading receiver.
Ike Taylor and William Gay both had pretty good games even though neither one of them intercepted a pass. They both combined for 10 total tackles and Taylor knocked down four passes.
Cedric Benson, Carson Palmer and Andre Caldwell were really the keys to this game and played huge roles in the Bengals victory, not Ochocinco. So despite the Bengals victory it really wasn’t a victory for Ochocinco as far as his list is concerned.
Verdict: Taylor and Gay didn’t kiss the baby – 2-1-0
Shutting up the Dog Pound
The Browns (Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald)
If you look at how many catches Ochocinco got (3) and how many receiving yards he had (24) you might be quick to give the Browns secondary the win in this game. However, this was a game where only two of Ochocinco’s catches really mattered and those were the two that that resulted in touchdowns.
Ochocinco caught a touchdown pass in the beginning of the game and at the end, which tied up the game in the fourth quarter with a 1:55 left on the clock. This touchdown forced the game into overtime where the Bengals won the game on a field goal. So it’s not hard to see that Ochocinco played was important to the success of the Bengals in this game.
When you add that the fact that Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald had a decent game at best (four combined tackles and one combined pass deflection) it’s easy to say that McDonald and Wright “kissed the baby” in this game.
Verdict: Wright and McDonald kissed the baby – 3-1-0
I’m On Fire?
The Ravens (Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth)
If Ray Lewis was on the list instead of Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth then it would be a no-brainer that Lewis would get the victory. Especially after that hit he laid on Ochocinco when he ran across the middle. However it seems that Ochocinco was smart by not naming Ray Lewis on that list.
Ochocinco and Carson Palmer connected on 70 percent of the passes that was thrown to him and he also added 94 yards receiving with that. He didn’t catch a touchdown pass but four of the passes he did catch resulted in a first down so it can be said that Ochocinco had a pretty productive game.
Washington and Foxworth combined for ten total tackles and two pass deflections which meant that they also had a pretty productive day. Given the fact that Ochocinco was kept out of the end zone but had a pretty productive day I would have to say it’s a tie. Especially since Ochocinco didn’t fulfill his promise by scoring a touchdown and performing the Ricky Bobby skit while the Ravens defense did fulfill their promise by not allowing Ochocinco to score.
Verdict: Tie – 3-1-1
The Texans (Fred Bennett and Dunta Robinson)
This Sunday, Ochocinco will take on Fred Bennett and Dunta Robinson. Both of them have combined for over 30 total tackles but neither one of them has intercepted a pass. The Texans’ secondary are currently ranked 19th in league in passing yards allowed and eighth in the league with passing touchdowns allowed. However Ochocinco already faced the Browns’ secondary who was had the same rankings in both categories (surprising huh?) and scored two touchdowns on them. This game will also be at home which will also give Ochocinco and the Bengals an advantage.
Prediction: Bennett and Robinson will kiss the baby
Ochocinco, Bengals, and Bears…Oh My
The Bears (Nathan Vasher)
This may be the best secondary that Ochocinco will have faced so far. The Bears’ secondary are ranked currently ranked ninth in the league in passing yards allowed and fifth in the league in passing touchdowns allowed. Nathan Vasher has had a decent season so far with six total tackles and Trumaine McBride hasn’t even played in a game. However Bears’ safety Danieal Manning leads the team in tackles and cornerback Charles Tillman leads the team in interceptions. They also have a hard-hitting linebacker in Lance Briggs who may make Ochocinco think twice about coming across the middle. So, this one may meet the same result as the Ravens unless Ochocinco can score a touchdown at home against this defense.
The Ravens (Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth)
In this revenge game Ochocinco should come out and look to dominate. Even though he and Ray Lewis are good friends, Ochocinco will still come out a look to score and score often. Even though the Ravens played great defense in that game they still allowed Ochocinco to gaining 94 receiving yards. Just for those reasons alone my bet would be that Ochocinco makes cornerback’s Fabian Washington and Domonique Foxworth kiss the baby.
Prediction: Washington and Foxworth kiss the baby.
A More Determined, Focused, and Happy Ochocinco = A More Productive Ochocinco
Ochocinco came into this season more focus and determined than the last season and as a result, the Bengals have a winning record, lead their division, and Ochocinco is returning to that impact player status that he had on 2007. He is already on pace to gain more receiving yards than he had last season and is right now only one touchdown away from his total from last season. The next eight games will be a test for him to see if he is truly back as he will have to go to Pittsburgh play against their tough defense and go to New York in the season finale to go up against the Randy Moss stopper, Darelle Revis. Mixed in with these games will be four against the worst secondaries in the league (Raider, Browns, Chiefs, and Lions) and two against some of the greatest (Vikings and Chargers). So who will kiss the baby in the second half of ’09? Don’t know but one thing is for certain and that’s the fact that Ochocinco is not done checking off names and making cornerbacks kiss babies.