Week 5 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 23
What you need to know
The Bengals started the game slowly, in large part due to Jacksonville’s aggressive defense. On their first two possessions, the Bengals were faced with third and long situations. Both times Carson Palmer attempted to pass, but was sacked on one occasion by Marcus Stroud and had his pass attempt blocked by John Henderson on the second. Palmer did finish the game with respectable numbers, ending with 22 completions in 33 attempts for 239 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. When he had time to throw, Palmer looked very comfortable directing the Bengals’ offense and made some very impressive mid-range and deep throws to his receivers.
Chad Johnson scored but was held to 52 yards. He was targeted nine times, with seven of those targets coming in the first half, and finished with five receptions. Palmer looked for him several times when he was in trouble in the first half. Johnson was upset during the second half and was seen having an animated conversation with Palmer at one point. On the first two plays in the next series, Palmer threw the ball Johnson’s way. Johnson was frequently double-teamed, and was in single coverage only when he lined up on the side of the field covered by Rashean Mathis.
Rudi Johnson, though he only had 18 rushing attempts, showed power and strength in his rushing. He did most of his damage rushing up the middle, breaking several tackles and gaining significant yards after initial contact. He finished with 76 yards rushing on 18 carries. While the Bengals did not have any goal line opportunities, Johnson was given the ball on a fourth and inches play in the fourth quarter. He ran hard up the middle, but did not get the first down thanks to a strong effort by the Jaguars’ strong run defense. Johnson was spelled by Chris Perry, who was very effective when he was in the game, rushing seven times for 55 yards and catching two passes for 21 yards.
The Bengals made enough adjustments in the second half, as well as taking advantage of Jacksonville miscues such as dropped passes and penalties, to be in position to drive for a tie or win at the end of the game. However, with just over one minute left in the game, Palmer was stripped of the ball by a hustling Jaguars’ linebacker. A Jacksonville player recovered the fumble to effectively bring the game to a close.
Strong defense, stellar running and effective management of the passing game were the keys to Jacksonville winning this game.
Byron Leftwich had modest numbers, finishing with ten completions in 24 attempts for 161 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown was a good throw to George Wrighster, who leapt over a defender after he caught the ball, and ran for a 26 yard touchdown. Leftwich’s other touchdown pass also featured a nice run after the catch, this time an 11 yard effort by Ernest Wilford, who laid a stiff-arm on a Bengal defender that would have made many running backs proud. Leftwich once again displayed poise while under pressure many of the times he went back to throw. He also showed an ability to find and utilize various receivers, though Jimmy Smith remained his favorite target with eight targets.
Fred Taylor was magnificent. Not only did he finish the game with an impressive 132 yards rushing, he had a 41 yard touchdown run called back due to holding. He also had another run of close to 15 yards called back due to holding. Taylor displayed the entire package in this game, showing power between the tackles, speed to run outside, and quickness, making several defenders miss. Greg Jones and Alvin Pearman spelled Taylor and finished with a combined 39 rushing yards.
In the first half of the game, the Jaguars’ defense was superb. They pressured Palmer consistently, and though they recorded just two sacks, they were close on several other occasions, forcing the Bengals quarterback to attempt some hurried throws. The defense came up strong on a fourth and inches Bengals’ run up the middle in the fourth quarter. Rudi Johnson ran up the middle with a full head of steam, but was driven back for a one yard loss. Though Jacksonville did not apply as much pressure on Palmer during the second half, they came up with a crucial play with a little over one minute remaining in the game, stripping Palmer of the ball to preserve the win.
What you ought to know
|QB Carson Palmer, Pass: 22 - 33 - 239 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0|
Palmer began the game under duress from an aggressive Jaguars’ pass rush. He was able to get into a rhythm in the second half, and brought the Bengals back to within three points with a chance to tie or win the game at the end. Though he was playing without one of his starting wide receivers, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, Palmer did not lock onto Chad Johnson exclusively. He targeted Johnson seven times in the first half, but spread the ball around more in the second half, targeting nine different receivers in the second half. Palmer seemed to have a good rapport with rookie wide receiver Chris Henry, hooking up with him on a 25 yard touchdown throw moments after connecting on a 47 yard pass to him. Though forced to rush his throws early, Palmer did not let that affect him for the entire game, and ended the game with solid passing numbers. He also threw a nice block to spring a teammate for positive yards on a run to the outside.
|RB Rudi Johnson, Rush: 18 - 76 - 0, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)|
Johnson was powerful gaining yards up the middle. He broke through the tackles of the Jaguars several times and may have had more yards if the Bengals did not focus more on the pass in the second half. Johnson also gave way to Chris Perry on third down and passing situations, which limited his time on the field, as Cincinnati found themselves in these types of situations several times during the game.
|RB Chris Perry, Rush: 7 - 55 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)|
Perry was productive when given the opportunity to play. He ran the ball on a variety of plays, outside to utilize his speed, and inside, where he displayed toughness taking on defenders up the middle. Perry played a lot on passing downs, and looked to be a good complement to Rudi Johnson.
Johnson was used as an outlet receiver twice. Other than that, he focused on blocking.
Johnson did not have the type of dominant game he predicted he would have. He had to battle double teams and some high passes that were difficult to bring down. He did show a willingness to run any pattern, as he went deep, over the middle, and along the sidelines, in an effort to help his team. When Cincinnati got in the red zone, Johnson was the immediate target, and he ran an outstanding route that resulted in a touchdown making a great play to get his feet down. Johnson was targeted seven times in the first half, but had only two targets in the second half, as other Bengals took advantage of the double coverage he was facing.
Walter was used exclusively as a possession receiver. He had more of an impact for a crack back penalty that cost his team significantly in the second half.
Henry made the most of his opportunities, making receptions of 47 yards and 25 yards on the same play. The 25 yarder was a touchdown catch. He was also the intended target on another over 40 yard throw to the end zone that fell incomplete.
Washington caught his first two passes of the season in this game. He displayed good ability to run after the catch on both plays, but was not used much in this game.
Schobel was not involved in the passing game during the first half, but was featured on a few plays in the second half on possession type routes.
Kelly was only involved in the passing game as a receiver once, as an outlet for Palmer.
Graham contributed two extra points and two field goals for the Bengals. Both of his field goals came in the third quarter, including a 48 yarder that he made easily.
The Bengals were run over by Fred Taylor. They gave up 132 yards to him during the game, and could not stop him even when it was obvious Jacksonville was going to run him to try and preserve their lead. In addition, they gave up two long runs, including a 41 yarder for a touchdown, that were called back.
The Bengals’ pass defense was inconsistent. When they generated pressure on Leftwich, they were successful in preventing big plays. On the other hand, they gave up two passing touchdowns to Jacksonville’s receivers, and would have given up more yards had Jacksonville’s receivers held on to a few balls that were catchable.
|QB Byron Leftwich, Pass: 10 - 24 - 161 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 0 - 0|
Leftwich was not spectacular but managed the game effectively enough for Jacksonville to win the game. He was inconsistent, at times overthrowing his receivers, but hitting them in stride at other times. He was victimized by a couple of dropped balls during the game, including one by Jimmy Smith. When given time to throw, Leftwich displayed a very strong arm on several passes. He continued to display his toughness by continually going after the Bengals’ defense even after they had knocked him down or one of his receivers had dropped a pass. Leftwich did miss some receivers on the shorter routes, which could have increased his productivity.
Taylor did an outstanding job running the football. He did not appear to have any lingering effects from his knee surgery, as he showed quick feet in making defenders miss, and sharp cutting ability, which resulted in large gains. On one play, a Bengals’ defender appeared to have Taylor wrapped up for a loss, but Taylor made a spin move to free himself, then made two additional defenders miss him as he ran for positive yardage. The combination of speed and power that Taylor has was too much for Cincinnati’s defenders. There were numerous occasions where he dragged multiple defenders several yards before being brought down. There were many other occasions where he changed direction quickly, and outran the pursuing defenders for large gains.
Pearman was productive when given the opportunity. He ran decisively up the middle for an 18 yard gain, and turned a screen pass into a 19 yard catch and run.
Jones was used mostly as a blocker, but did run effectively when asked to do so, finishing with 24 yards on four carries. He did however, drop two catchable passes both times he was thrown the ball.
Williams looked more comfortable in this offense and used his size in warding off defenders on a pass he received when he turned and ran with defenders bouncing off him. His helmet was knocked off, but he still ran forward for extra yards. Williams looked quicker than he has in previous games.
Though he finished the game with relatively modest numbers, Smith was still Jacksonville’s most productive receiver. Though targeted four times in the first half, he did not have a reception until the second half. Smith dropped a well thrown pass on a third and 14 play that would have netted Jacksonville a first down. This was uncharacteristic for Smith, but he still displayed an ability to get open consistently. He was called for holding on the run by Fred Taylor that would have resulted in a touchdown.
Wilford made the most of his lone target, by running 11 yards for the touchdown and delivering an impressive stiff arm to a would be tackler.
Jones was used as a decoy on a reverse and lined up at quarterback on another occasion, where he handed the ball to Taylor. Other than that, he was used on short pass routes, but had no catches.
Wrighster’s 26 yard reception was the first touchdown of the game for the Jaguars. He displayed good athleticism by leaping over a Bengals’ defender on his way to the end zone. Apart from that play he was only targeted one additional time in the game.
Brady was used primarily for his blocking and as an outlet receiver once.
Scobee was excellent. He made both his extra point attempts and all three of his field goal attempts, including a 51 yarder and a 53 yarder.
The Jaguars gave up several runs for positive yards up the middle to Rudi Johnson. They were only tested once on a short yardage play, and stopped a run up the middle by Johnson on a fourth and inches play. Johnson did end the day with 76 yards rushing against Jacksonville’s rush defense.
The Jaguars began the game by applying pressure to Palmer consistently during the first half, usually by their front four defensive linemen. The secondary seemed up to the task of battling Chad Johnson and they played aggressively throughout. They did not apply as much pressure in the second half, and ended up allowing 239 yards and two touchdowns to Palmer. They did however stiffen at the end of the game and stripped the ball from Palmer, which they recovered.