You'd think there would be an inherent desire to confuse, given that they're facing a rookie QB, but the Bengals have actually found success by simplifying their defense rather than making it more complex.
Mike Zimmer's side ran a stripped-down game plan against Baltimore, and it resulted in a win over the Ravens, holding a potentially explosive offense to just 259 yards and 4-of-15 third-down conversions in their 15-10 win over Baltimore. The defensive coordinator told the team's website that he had too many checks against the Patriots the first week, saying his Ravens plan was "simpler but not simple."
-- Of course, the Bengals have plenty of experience going against rookie QBs, as Sunday's game against Jimmy Clausen and the Panthers will be their 14th under coach Marvin Lewis (who took over in 2003). They're 6-7 in those games.
-- It'll be interesting to see how healthy the Bengals passing game is this week, as WR Chad Ochocinco said on twitter the other day that he had a cracked rib.
Then again, he says a lot. We'll see.
-- Looks like Bengals QB Carson Palmer is all the way back from his 2008 elbow injury, after leading them to a division title last year.
Of course, he's always been pretty good.
Palmer threw what was perhaps one of the prettiest passes ever thrown against the Panthers in the 2006 meeting there.
On a windy and raw October day, Palmer threw a ridiculous fourth-and-1 pass that the artist then known as Chad Johnson caught while stumbling for a 32-yard gain. That set up a game-winning touchdown by T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Like a golfer playing a hook, Palmer's pass appeared to start out of bounds but came back safely, foiling what was actually excellent coverage by Chris Gamble. It was truly a pass that only one guy was going to catch, and it was his guy.
-- While the offense gains all the attention for the Bengals, their defense has played exceptionally, with four interceptions last week against Baltimore. CBs Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph (Rock Hill, Northwestern HS) have quietly become one of the league's top tandems, with Hall pulling in his 15th interception last week. Joseph has 11 career picks.
-- Darin Gantt