Bengals fans had this game circled on their calendar. For some, this was the game when we could show Palmer what a dumb decision he made by choosing to sit out and eventually join the Raiders over staying in Cincinnati and playing. For others, they wanted to boo the guy for the way he quit. Others just hoped the Bengals could continue their dominance in the last few weeks with a complete game. I think all these people found what they were looking for.
First let me say I don’t care about Carson Palmer. My opinion is that he quit on this team. He has claimed that it was ownership that pushed him to his decision but my response with that is then why sign a 10 year deal to not honor? He had the chance to leave when his contract would expire, instead he took the 100 million dollar deal and then cried his way out of town.
The game went as good as Bengals fans could have hoped for. Once again the Bengals put together a complete game and beat a team they should have beat. The running game continued to improve and Dalton once again managed to not hurt the Bengals with a turnover.
The best part of the day was the pressure on Palmer. Sure, I smiled when Atkins pasted Palmer into the turf, but more importantly it was good to see the Bengals defensive front create pressure on another NFL team. Slowly this unit is becoming one of the best in the league. This makes the Bengals defense as a whole a stronger unit and can be the catalyst that moves this team to the playoffs for the second year in a row.
I also love Andrew Withworth standing up for his quarterback. You have to wonder if he would have the same fire to protect Palmer? Knowing Whit, I am sure it wouldn’t matter who was back there, but as Palmer watched from the other sideline, do you think he wondered what getting that kind of protection felt like? Do you think he missed holding the key to the city as Dalton does now? Whit’s quote after the game (h/t Hobson) sums it up perfectly:
“I’ve got two contracts in my life,” Whitworth said. “One with my wife and the other to protect Andy Dalton.”
It is not like Palmer wishes he was still a Bengal and Bengals fans don’t wish for him back. (except for a couple of you fools early in the season, you know who you are) You just have to think as Palmer wakes up this morning, very sore from the pounding he took, that he regrets some of the decisions that got him to where he is. There is a very real chance that he is not a Raider after this season. Then what? Yesterday had to hurt him pretty bad, and not just on the physical side.