Monday, December 6, 2010

1st Person: Saints vs. Bengals...Saints win 34-30

Saints-Bengals game/Courtesy: Me
We say that because TLB (The Lovely Bride) and I were at the Saints/Bengals game, despite the 29 degree weather, 10-15mph winds and blowing snow flurries. We wanted to experience an outdoor game in December, and boy did we get one.

It's funny, after living in Cincinnati for over a year, we don't know exactly why...or how the local populace is attached to their team. Sure, the NFL is much bigger in Ohio and most parts Northeast/Midwest, but most--well some of those cities have team that have been successful. The Bengals. Not so much.

We went to the game mostly to see the Saints. TLB is from Louisiana and grew up a huge fan. But then again most Louisiana folk are hardcore football fans, be it the Saints or LSU. If you don't believe me, try going down there during football season.

The Bengals on the other hand, for the most part have been pretty bad. Pretty bad for a long, long time. Sure, they played in the Super Bowl twice in the '80's, but they haven't sniffed it since. They had a pretty good 2009 season, but nobody knew how or why. This year...has been back to reality. They came into the game 2-9 and
TLB was cold but enjoyed the game/Courtesy: Me

Probably because of the weather, the game started slow. The Saints moved it right down the field the 1st time they got it, stalled and kicked a field goal. The Bengals didn't do much better. Halftime, it was 13-6 and nobody really seemed to be in control.

It picked up a bit in the 3rd. Chris Ivory, a free agent running back for the Saints, well, the Bengals couldn't stop him. 2 Rushing TD's, 117 yards on only 15 carries. He scored and then the guy allegedly brought in to put the Bengals over the top, Terrell Owens caught at TD pass. A missed extra point and we are looking at a 20-12 game after 3.

The final quarter got a little busier. Cedric Benson ran in two 2 TD's for the Bengals as they suddenly started to use the guys they had on offense the right way. It would be the only time all day they did that. They threw short and some longer, timing passes mixed in with Benson running. They moved it pretty well. Inexplicably, that wouldn't continue.

The Saints hung tough, but a 47-yard field goal by Clint Stinser, who missed an extra point earlier, suddenly put the Bengals in the lead. That wouldn't last long.

Drew Brees had 4:20 to move the Saints in for the game winner. And as usual, he delivered, though not without some help.

Yeah, I wear sunglasses for everything/Courtesy: TLB
Less than a minute to go. The Saints have the ball. 4th down and 2. They line up to go for it. Half the crowd, which was about 20,000 short of a sellout, couldn't figure it out. They were going to make the Bengals jump offside or they would run down the clock and call time out. Pick the former.

Nose Tackle Pat Sims jumps offside. Saints ball on the 3. The next play, Brees hits Marques Colston in front of his guy in the end zone. Game over. Or was it?

For some reason, the Saints kicked the ball to Bernard Scott who returned the ball to midfield. A 14-yard completion got the Bengals inside the 40. Rather than use their timeout, since they needed a touchdown and the play was stopped with 14-seconds to go, the Bengals frantically tried to run up and spike the ball before finally calling the timeout with 8-seconds left.

The last second throw to the end zone. It never happened. Carson Palmer was sacked. Game over Saints win 34-30.

It's hard to describe the looks on the Bengals fans faces at the end of the game. They just kind of quietly shook their heads and walked out of the stadium.

It will be very interesting to see what happens with this team after the season. There is some talent on the roster, but it hasn't been used very well. The coach, Marvin Lewis, his contract runs out after the season. There are tons of rumors he's done and they probably are true. The Bengals are one of the last teams run by a family and they aren't run well. They don't have the scouting resources or GM that other teams have. They do have a fanbase. One that would respond if prompted, but it doesn't look good. With the economic struggles in the area, an over-priced NFL ticket isn't that important to most. They put maybe 50,000 in Paul Brown Stadium Sunday (announced 59,000) and a lot of them left after half time. The team has some serious issues they need to address and if the league has a lockout, they may be one of the teams hurt the most.

Check out this interesting retrospective done by Interesting and they only go back to the 1990's.

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