Tag Archives: Steve Smith

“Bengals vs Panthers In Game”

Bengal's kicker, Mike Nugent (pictured above), has arguably been the Team's MVP through their first 3 games.

The 1 and 1 Bengals travel to Carolina today to take on a struggling Panthers team with a rookie QB making his debut start today in Jimmy Clausen.  Bengal’s D coordinator, Mike Zimmer is looking to feast and should confuse the rookie early and often with a plethora of different defensive schemes.  Look for the Bengal’s offense to wake up as well in a big way today.

My esteemed guests this week are Mr. David Huber, or “Hubes,” Mr. Chris Nesbitt, or “Nez,” and Mr. Grift Krehnbrink,  or “Queen City Kid.”  They will provide their thoughts at the end of each quarter.

1st Quarter:

Weird is the best way to describe this quarter.  The Bengals throw an INT on their first drive only to have Jimmy Clausen mishandle a snap and give it right back.   Late in the quarter, Carson tosses up a horribly underthrown ball to TO that gets picked.  The rookie, Clausen, on the next play, makes a horrible throw to Steve Smith to give the ball right back to Cincy.  Talk about an erratic, back and forth 1st quarter.  The quarterback play has been god awful.     The only adjective I have for this quarter is “weird.”  I feel like I am watching a lower tier high school football game.  Nonetheless, Cincy leads 7 to 0 and has the ball.  In addition, it was nice to see Brian Leonard back out there running hard.

Hubes:  “Carson’s best days are behind him.  Long behind him.”

Nez:  “Despite a lot of sloppy play, the Bengals are in a good spot, as long as Clausen is under center for the Panthers.”

Queen City Kid: “Carson just looks abysmal.  He has not been the same for years now.”

2nd Quarter:

I am absolutely speechless.  Carson has a 22.2 QB Rating with two horrendous interceptions.  Minus the play of Maualuga, Gresham, and Shipley, I am not sure what team I am watching.  The offense is horrendous in every facet.  Thank god we have reliable special teams play in our punter Kevin Huber and kicker Mike Nugent.  Not to mention we are lucky that Jimmy Clausen is the starter for the Panthers on this day.  Also, the clock management for the last 45 seconds was absolutely unacceptable.  Dennis Roland should be ashamed of himself.  I am happy to be up 10 to 0, but just because a team is winning does not mean they are playing well.  This Bengal’s team better play smarter and better in the 2nd half, or they could be on their way to blowing a very winnable game on the road.

Hubes: “Kevin Huber, MVP of the first half.”

Nez: “This is not quality football.”

Queen City Kid: “To the Carolina Panthers, get me a new quarterback, or get me a cheddarwurst.”

3rd Quarter:

Boring and dry.  Other than one extended touchdown drive from Carolina, not too much to say.  The Bengals continue to dominate time of possession and are doing all they can to hold on.  Cedric is carrying the load as Carson’s struggles mount.  Will Carson ever live up the hype?

Hubes: “Bengals better cover the spread.”

Nez:  “This game is too close for comfort.”

Queen City Kid:  “Clausen is showing signs of life.  Probably had a nice halftime.”

4th Quarter:

They did what they had to do.  Got crucial stops.  Nugent continues to make both short and long field goals.  And Cedric Benson came up with some big plays offensively.  Kudos to the defense on a great game even though they were going up against an overmatched rookie QB.

Hubes: “Boring game.”

Nez: “I will take the W.  But it was not pretty.”

Queen City Kid: “I got nothing.  I am speechless.”

Recap:

My MVPs in this one are Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, and Cedric Benson.  Though the Bengal’s D as a whole played great, they were not exactly going up against a juggernaut of an offense.  Still, a very solid game though, holding the Panthers to under 270 total yards.  The Bengals have now won 5 of their last 6 against the NFC.  The NFL is not about looking good or winning pretty.  And today was a prime example of winning ugly.

The Bengals get to head to Cleveland next week.  Hopefully they can move to 3 and 1 before a Week 5 showdown against the formerly undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Carson if you are out there, please get it together.  This team will live and die on Palmer, especially against quality opponents.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.

-TheSportsKraze

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“NFC South Preview”

Can Matt Ryan lead the Falcons past the defending Super Bowl Champion Saints?

 The NFC South had a banner year last season producing their first Super Bowl Champion since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took it home behind a stellar game by Dexter Jackson in the 2002-2003 season.  Jon Gruden was at the top of the coaching realm at that time.  Now he is one of the best analysts that ESPN has to offer.  But how about those Saints?  What a heartfelt story and exciting team to watch.  It was a very well deserved victory for the team and the entire city of New Orleans. 

NFC South:  Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4th place):  Things have not been the greatest in Tampa Bay for the past couple of years.  This franchise has not made the playoffs since 2007, and that does not appear to be changing this year.  They have both an abysmal offense and defense these days, that really struggles at defending the pass.  First of all the problem for this team starts at quarterback.  The 22-year-old, Josh Freeman, has a world of potential, but no business starting in the NFL yet.  This is not a League that young guys can typically make an instant impact in such as the NBA.  The running back combo of this team in Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward is mediocre at best.  It is hard to run a ball on a team that will have such an anemic passing game.  Which leads me to how much the loss of Antonio Bryant will hurt.  The Bucs were towards the bottom of the League in the passing game last year, think what it will be like this year with Kellen Winslow as your only real receiving threat (he is a Tight End).  On the defensive side of the ball, things get even worse.  The only names you will recognize are guys like Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib.  You recognize Ronde, because he once was great, and Aqib because of his run ins with the law.  Plus Ronde looks to be all but retired, and may actually be retired before the season starts.  So there you have it, not much hope for Tampa Bay in 2010. 

Carolina Panthers (3rd place):  Next you have a Carolina Panther’s team that is coming off of a very disappointing 3rd place finish.  Well expect the same this year.  The one thing this team has going for them is a very strong defense.  Jon Beason is rapidly becoming one of the best linebackers in the League.  He is another great NFL linebacker out of none other than the U (Miami University).  Chris Gamble is a gamer in the secondary and can come up with some big time plays.  But the loss of Julius Peppers will sting.  Regardless if the guy was overpaid, he still contributed big time and really was a guy that offensive lines keyed in on freeing up others on the Panther’s defense to run rampant.  Can the Panther’s secondary still do well without a Julius Pepper’s attack coming at opposing QB’s?  We will find out.  Offensively, there is a brand new look with the sad departure of Jake Delhomme.  It will be interesting to see how Matt Moore does with the pressure of being the starter and having a guy like Jimmy Clausen breathing down his throat.  At least there is a great 2 headed monster at running back in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.  Oh yeah, they also have a guy named Steve Smith to throw to.  But the loss of Muhsin Muhammad will hurt and somebody will have to step up as the number 2 receiver.  All in all, this Panther’s team has a lot of question marks.  But expect the rushing attack to be solid and do not be surprised to see this team win between 6 and 8 games. 

Atlanta Falcons (2nd place):  Atlanta will boast a solid offensive attack again this year led by their fearless quarterback Matt Ryan.  Ryan is getting close to entering his prime and continues to develop into a very strong NFL quarterback.  This team has targets for him to throw to such as Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, and the future hall of famer, Tony Gonzalez.  But make no mistake, this is still one of the NFL’s few run first teams.  Between having a healthy Michael Turner, Jason Snelling, and the explosive Jerious Norwood, opponents should fear the rushing attack of Atlanta.  Also word on the street is that Michael Turner has had a fantastic off-season and has a big time year forthcoming.  On the other side of the ball, you may not have heard of many of these guys if you are not from Atlanta, but they are tough.  Led by linebacker Curtis Lofton and safety Erik Coleman, this defense is very solid.  They work very well as a collaborative unit and this year should be no different.  The only question is can this team improve in stopping the pass?  If they are able to improve as a secondary unit, they could challenge the pass happy Saints for the divisional crown.  Expect this team to come up just short of a Wild Card spot, but to have a very solid season. 

New Orleans Saints (1st place):  I know it has been a trap in recent history to pick the defending Super Bowl Champs to make any noise the next season.  I know the past couple of years the defending champs have faltered in even making it back to the playoffs, but this team looks too good not to at least make the postseason.  They are led by possibly the game’s best quarterback in Drew Brees.  They have an outstanding receiving corps in Colston, Henderson, Meachem, and Shockey.  Also they have probably the best receiving running back in the League in Reggie Bush.  This team can hurt you in so many ways offensively.  And with the way Drew Brees spreads the ball around, it does not really matter who you put around him or what defenses you throw at him.  Brees will put up points.  Also this team has the best run/pass balance in the League.  They are old-fashioned, and though they appear pass happy at times, they are able to do this due to an established rushing attack.  Though the loss of Mike Bell will hurt, expect Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush to carry the load just fine and really compliment each other well.  Then on the defensive side of the ball, can Darren Sharper repeat his amazing performance of a year ago?  Or at least half of the performance?  For a Super Bowl Champion, the Saints did not have a great defense.  They really lived and died on the bend and not break motto.  But who cares.  If you are putting up points the way this team does, all the defense has to do is hold opponents under 30 (sometimes 35).  Jonathan Vilma, Darren Sharper, and Roman Harper just have to ensure that this defense does not totally collapse.  Due to the amazing scoring ability of the offense, they predominantly have to defend against the pass as teams try to catch up.  Is the defense up to the challenge? 

So the NFC South looks to be very good as usual.  I see the Saints repeating as champions and the Falcons having a great season, but just missing a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.  The Saints will break the recent streak of defending Super Bowl Champions not making the playoffs. 

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze. 

-TheSportsKraze