Here, in no particular order, are some random observations I jotted down while watching the Bengals thrilling 23-20 win versus Buffalo yesterday:
Observations from Week Four:
–Andrew Hawkins is a dynamic player in space. In his two opportunities with the ball Sunday, Hawkins was elusive and impressively fast. The team should try and get him into the game plan more for next week in the passing game and possibly returning kick-offs because…
–Brandon Tate is a decent enough punt returner, but his kick-off returns leave a lot to be desired. Is it just me, or does he seem to tippy-toe his way out of the end zone and towards the defense? The best kick returners in the game catch the ball, run towards the blocking, pick a seam and bolt like they are shot out of a cannon. Tate runs a bit too gingerly and east-west for me. As an aside, we also have yet to see him as a wide receiver. I’m not so sure he’s an upgrade over Quan Cosby at this point.
–Andre Caldwell has to be one of the unluckiest players to ever don a Bengals jersey—and that’s saying a lot. Caldwell has had some big-time, game-winning catches for the Bengals, particularly during the 2009 season, but he’s also been the victim of more than his share of mishaps. Who could forget his fumbled kickoff return against Oakland that cost the Bengals that game in 2009? How about the backwards fumble against San Diego that same year that cost the Bengals a chance at winning that game? Sunday’s fluke touchdown by Bryan Scott of the Bills was another example. Caldwell lost control of the ball and had it bounce off his knee, then his shin before landing into Scott’s waiting arms. Shake it off, Andre.
–Nate Livings is not the answer at Left Guard. There, I said it. Again.
–It was good seeing Bernard Scott get some touches. He should get some more. And is it just me, or did Cedric Benson run better after he watched from the sidelines a few times?
–Jerome Simpson really needs to quit talking so much on the field. He’s always jawing with defensive backs, or getting into scuffles. I admire his grit, but it raises a concern, for me at least, about his focus. Good DB’s will get into his head and sooner or later he’ll do something stupid that leads to a penalty.
–Michael Johnson ripping the ‘14’ off of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s jersey was cool.
–A.J. Green doesn’t have to be open. He just needs single coverage and a catchable ball. Speaking of the catchable ball thing…
–They need to practice that end zone fade play more. They’ve now tried it at least 7 times this year by my count, and connected only once.
–At least two false starts on Andre Smith. Unacceptable. Between his mental errors, Nate Livings getting blown up on a regular basis, and the questions at left guard, I really have to wonder what Anthony Collins has done to get into Paul Alexander’s doghouse.
–Thomas Howard is FAST for a linebacker. Not sure what he did to tick Al Davis off, but he looks like a great free agency pick-up!
–Steve Tasker insisted upon calling Andy Dalton “Andrew” all game. I realize that’s his given name, and probably how it looked on the roster sheet, but boy it was annoying.
–Speaking of Dalton, the dude is unflappable. He takes the debacle that was the first half and completely forgets about it, putting together a fantastic second half, leading the team to victory and diving for that last first down. Still miss Carson Palmer? I sure don’t. Nine would *not* have gotten that first down.
–A little unsure about the clock management at the end of the game. The Bengals basically settled for a 43-yard field goal by letting the last 25 seconds or so run down despite having 2 time-outs to work with. That was probably enough time for 2 more plays to get closer, or at least line up the ball in the center rather than on the left hash. I suppose this speaks volumes for Marvin Lewis’ confidence in Mike Nugent.