NFL Nation: 2013 Week 5 NWE at CIN Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Cincinnati Bengals

October, 6, 2013

CINCINNATI -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 13-6 win over the New England Patriots:

What it means: Until the Bengals string together multiple wins, there really is very little that can be gleaned from their performance Sunday afternoon. They have been inconsistent much of the season, trading wins and losses. We'll see whether they can build momentum after the victory over one of the last of the NFL's unbeatens. Otherwise, the win meant Cincinnati did what we already knew it could -- beat a great team.

Stock watch: Rising: BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Four games into the season, many around Cincinnati were questioning Green-Ellis' role in the Bengals' offense and whether or not he should completely take a backseat to rookie Giovani Bernard, whose speed-driven, electrifying style of play has made him an overwhelming fan favorite. Green-Ellis answered the critics Sunday with his best performance of the season, rushing 19 times for 67 yards and one touchdown. The effort came against the team he spent four years with. Ahead of Sunday's contest, the former Patriot had rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns this season, and was among the league's worst with a 2.7-yards-per-carry average.

Identity found? Six days after offensive coordinator Jay Gruden told reporters he felt the Bengals were still seeking their offensive identity, they came out with a more balanced and diverse attack than they showcased in recent games. Cincinnati started the game by running the ball four times on a four-play drive. The Bengals eventually turned the offense over to their tight ends; Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham finished with a combined nine catches. By the middle of the second quarter, on their fifth drive of the game, the Bengals finally got their receivers involved, passing to Marvin Jones and A.J. Green. In all, the Bengals threw the ball 27 times and ran it 39 times.

Defensive pressure: For the first time, the Bengals got a sack from someone other than a defensive lineman, when linebacker Vontaze Burfict came away with a sack on New England's Tom Brady in the third quarter. The sack was for a loss of 10 yards. In all, Cincinnati had four sacks, including two from defensive end Wallace Gilberry, who replaced Michael Johnson (concussion).

What's next: Cincinnati (3-2) travels to Buffalo for its first of two straight road games.

Rapid Reaction: New England Patriots

October, 6, 2013

CINCINNATI -- Thoughts from the New England Patriots13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: The Patriots’ offense was held without a touchdown as the Bengals’ defense -- and missed opportunities by New England -- was the story of the game. The Patriots, who had two drives with a chance to score a game-tying touchdown, fall to 4-1. Parts of the end of the game were played in a driving rainstorm.

Brady’s streak: Quarterback Tom Brady’s streak of 52 straight games with at least one touchdown pass was snapped. The record was 54 straight games, set by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Had Brady kept the streak alive, he would have had a chance to tie the mark against Brees’ Saints. Brady was intercepted with 16 seconds left to end it on an underthrown pass.

Kelly’s knee injury and defensive tackle concerns: Veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly left the game in the second half with a knee injury, returned briefly, then left for good. A potential Kelly absence would be a big blow in the wake of the Patriots losing defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for the season. The Patriots have rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones next on the depth chart and also have first-year player Marcus Forston and rookie A.J. Francis on the practice squad.

More on the injury front: Veteran running back Leon Washington left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return. Washington, who had a thigh injury that limited him to just one of the team’s first four games, opened Sunday as the Patriots’ primary kickoff returner.

Stock watch, up: Defense. On a day in which the Patriots’ offense was stymied -- and credit goes to the Bengals’ defense for making life so difficult -- the Patriots’ defense kept the team in the game. Safety Devin McCourty’s forced fumble late in the fourth quarter had the team in position to potentially tie. And then the defense delivered another stop to force a punt.

Stock watch, down: LeGarrette Blount. The running back fumbled in the second quarter, ending a promising drive. With top running back Stevan Ridley out with a thigh injury, this was Blount’s time to assume a lead role. The fumble hurt.

Managing Amendola: Receiver Danny Amendola played for the first time since injuring his groin in the Sept. 8 season opener. Including penalties, he was on the field for 38 of 64 snaps (unofficially), which reflects how he was managed in his return.

What’s next: The Patriots return home to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.




Thursday, 9/18
Sunday, 9/21
Monday, 9/22