Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wrap-up: Patriots 38, Bengals 24
By James Walker
Here are thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' loss to the New England Patriots to open the season:
What it means: It's just one game, but the Bengals started the season poorly. Cincinnati had an awful first half as New England jumped to a three-touchdown lead. The Bengals were in catch-up mode the rest of the game. Coming off a division title, Cincinnati was hyped in the offseason, but this team clearly must play better.
What I liked: I liked how the offense woke up in the second half, which could provide momentum for next week. The Bengals looked out of synch early but scored 21 points after intermission with quarterback Carson Palmer tossing the football around. As expected against New England's young secondary, receiver Chad Ochocinco had a monster game with 12 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown. Terrell Owens recorded seven receptions for 53 yards in his Bengals debut.
What I didn't like: For a defense that finished No. 4 overall in 2009, there is no excuse to give 31 points in the opener. I took off a touchdown, because Palmer threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the first half. New England pretty much had its way with Cincinnati's defense. Tom Brady (three touchdowns) was terrific and his running game averaged 5.1 yards per carry.
What's next: Cincinnati's loss sets up a huge division matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. With the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) already in the win column, the Bengals do not want to fall to 0-2, especially with next week's game against a division rival. The Ravens start their 2010 season Monday against the New York Jets.