The Bengals continued their slow but steady climb to peak form. In front of a raucous Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals showed more poise—though the inconsistency was still very much present. This is after all the Preseason, a dose of what is to come and experimenting to serve as a prelude to the real thing—the regular season.
For Terrell Owens, the pre-season and season are shaping up to be a Christmas Carol of sorts as for the second preseason week, Owens faced a ghost of career's past. Though Owens past was tumultuous, a simple letter to the fans in Cincinnati (via the Cincinnati Enquirer) showed more poise and character than a TO team has seen in this aging stars entire career. Carson Palmer is looking more and more like the gilded leader in regards to TO. For several series on Friday night, the biggest mystery was not how TO would fit into the offense, but how Ocho would.
In the end the ghosts of the future showed where the Bengals are headed if they continue to make the right choices. Shipley was there, Bernard Scott looked even more agile, while Dunlap and Atkins made their presence known on defense.
While the fears of the absent unproven stars—Andre "Second Chance" Smith and Antonio "Knee?" Bryant—were noticeably absent, the worry of said absence slowly is fading as a growing veteran and youthful vibrance fills those areas where needs were most apparent.
(Photography courtesy of Bengals.com; NFL.com; The Cincinnati Enqurier: Joseph Fuqua II; The Associated Press: Tony Tribble, Ed Reinke)