Sloppy first half. We could EASILY be getting beat badly in this game, as the score could be 21-10 if not for a few stops inside the red zone. Sure, in those stops we had a pretty good example of Ross releasing his man and making the open field tackle and a Kiwi 3rd down sack. But let’s get right to the problems:
1) Dockery and Butler looked bad this half. The Bengals are clearly attacking these guys. Chatman has 5 receptions in the first half for a reason.
2) Gilbride’s game plan has been terrible. The Bengals have injuries and are depleted in the secondary, and yet we run the ball despite consistent effort on the part of the Bengals to have 8-9 men in the box. Eli does not have the time to be audibling every play at scrimmage (there are enough penalties as it is by our team this half). WHEN WE PASS WE WIN AND WHEN WE RUN (A LOT) WE LOSE. We moved the ball easily when the ball was aloft.
3) Gilbride’s playcalling has been utterly predictable. When we have been in 2nd and short after a first down pass, the chances of the gemn running is like 103%. They pile the men in the box too.
4) Plax had a bad drop early but I believe he was in bounds for the TD. Dierdorf and everyone are looking at the WRONG foot. Everyone in looking at Foot 3. Yes, foot 3 was out of bounds… Foot 2 was in AND foot 1 was already in with the ball in possession.
5) If Coughlin calls another timeout in the 2 min warning of the first half while he does NOT have the ball waiting for the opposing team to get stopped a down or two later, I am going to scream. He did the same bonehead mistake in the Super Bowl, and thank goodness for the Tuck strip and Osi fumble recovery before the end of the half. This time it gives the Bengals an extra 30 seconds and all that time to march down the field. It probably did not matter, as the same 3 goes up, but it could have easily cost us 4 more and who knows if the Robbins block of the FG makes them miss it from just a little further out.
Summary: Beware of Dockery and Butler as the un-dynamic duo. PASS TO WIN this game.
(btw, Boss has the hands, get him the ball more. Ahmad Bradshaw against this defense with pass catching out of the backfield could be lethal. So far he has played zero except specials. kudos to Fred Robbins, Boss, Cofield sack. Hixon and Smith should be ahead of Toomer on the depth chart.)