PressProsMagazine.com Bengals writer Chick Ludwig answers 10 questions Cincinnati fans are asking in the wake of the Bengals’ 24-22 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field in Denver on Sunday, Sept. 18.
How do you feel about the Bengals’ performance in the Mile High City?
I feel torn — like a sharp knife through a cheap curtain. The Bengals have never opened a season with two straight road victories, and lost for the ninth straight time in Denver, where they haven’t won since 1975. They had plenty of opportunities to purge those demons, but they all slipped away.
I was encouraged by the play of quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receivers A.J. Green and Jerome Simpson, but I was extremely disappointed in a defense that couldn’t stop Broncos tailback Willis McGahee or Denver wideout Eric Decker.
The Bengals forced Denver to punt three times down the stretch — with 9:54, 5:40 and 2:39 remaining — but couldn’t capitalize when drives died at the Broncos’ 39, the Broncos’ 36 and the Bengals’ 43-yard lines.
Did the Bengals deserve to win the game?
There’s an old saying that I repeat every day during the season to anyone who will listen: “You get what you deserve in the NFL.” The Bengals had their moments. They forced two turnovers, and Dalton hooked up with Simpson on an 84-yard play.
But the Bengals were awful on third and fourth down. They were 1 of 11 in third-down efficiency and 0-for-2 on fourth down. Bottom line: They did not deserve to win.
Who is your Bengals’ “Star of the Game”?
Although Dalton was brilliant (27 of 41 passing for 322 yards, two TDs and no INTs), I’m giving the nod to Green. The fourth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft caught 10 passes for 124 yards and a TD that would’ve made Baryshnikov proud.
Who is your Bengals’ “Goat of the Game”?
I have four goats in stripes — middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, strong safety Chris Crocker, tight end Jermaine Gresham and head coach Marvin Lewis.
Maualuga whiffed more times than Drew Stubbs. Crocker collided with cornerback Nate Clements, giving Decker a gift 52-yard TD. Gresham continues to drop passes. And Lewis refused to let Mike Nugent attempt a game-winning field goal on fourth-and-one at Denver’s 36-yard line with 3:09 to go.
Why does the national media continue to bash the Bengals?
Because they’re easy targets. The Bengals have reached the postseason just twice (2005 and 2009) in the past 20 years, and haven’t won a playoff game since Jan. 6, 1991 — a 41-14 home victory over the Houston Oilers. It’s the longest current playoff victory drought in the NFL.
Will the Bengals’ Sept. 25 home opener against the San Francisco 49ers be televised locally?
No. The Bengals announced Saturday, Sept. 17, that too many tickets remain available for the game to sell out. In accordance with NFL policy, the game will not be televised in the Bengals’ home markets of Cincinnati, Dayton and Lexington, Ky.
Tickets can be obtained by calling the Bengals Ticket Hotline toll free at 1-866-621-8383 or by pointing your Web browser to bengals.com.
Do the Bengals players miss Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens?
Not in the least. Here’s what left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth told Kevin Goheen of The Cincinnati Enquirer:
“Sad to say, as much as I love you guys (media), sometimes stars are born from y’all, not necessarily success on the football field. Some guys run their mouths a lot or say a lot of things so they get a lot of attention. It doesn’t mean they always play football the way it is supposed to be played.”
What can fans expect at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday?
It’s going to take a few extra minutes to enter the stadium because of increased security. The league announced that fans would now be patted down from the ankles up as they enter the stadium gates, not just just from waist up.
Whatever happened to Bengals strong safety Chinedum Ndukwe?
Ndukwe is an unrestricted free agent, still rehabbing the knee he tore up last season. As soon as he gets completely healthy, he’ll start a tour, working out for teams throughout the league. He was not cut, waived or released by the Bengals. His contract simply ran out. Teams are waiting for “Doom” to get healthy.
Any Carson Palmer updates?
According to ESPN.com, Palmer made a rare public appearance on Saturday, tailgating before Southern Cal’s 38-17 victory over Syracuse at the L.A. Coliseum.
Palmer is reportedly going through private workouts in California, staying in shape just in case the Bengals trade or release him. NFL.com reported Palmer has been throwing to former Bengals teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who is a free agent.
(Chick Ludwig hosts the “Monday Morning Quarterback” show on Fox Sports 1360 (WSAI-AM) in Cincinnati. The show airs every Monday from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. through Jan. 2, 2012. You can also follow Chick Ludwig on Twitter @ChickLudwig)