In a game that was must-win for the Chargers, the Bengals were able to take complete advantage of the Chargers secondary to come up with a victory.
The Bengals were without both Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, but a group of young receivers pulled it together and gave us a look at what the Bengals’ offense could look like next year.
The Chargers were hurt by a few bizarre plays that didn’t reflect well on the coaching staff, as well as a Bengals front seven not allowing the Chargers to have much of a run game.
Chargers: Three performances of note
In recent weeks WR Vincent Jackson (-2.4) has been a spark for the Chargers receiving game, but in this game he wasn’t much help. Only four of the seven passes thrown his way were caught and he dropped one. His run blocking was poor as well; the Chargers needed a strong game by him and he didn’t produce.
DT Antonio Garay (+2.3) has been very strong in his first year as a starter, and this game was no different. He came up with two of the Chargers’ seven pressures and had two stops. Although he alone couldn’t help the Charger defense stop the Bengals, his play is still something to be excited about for next year.
FS Eric Weddle (-1.8) wasn’t up to the level he’s played at all year. He was targeted six times, allowed five catches for 81 yards, and had four missed tackles. He was one of the better run stoppers for the Chargers, but still didn’t deliver the type of signature effort his team needed.
Bengals: Three performances of note
QB Carson Palmer (+6.1) was brilliant on his 14 throws with no pressure, with 15.7 yards per attempt and three touchdowns. He showed in this game he can win without his big-name receivers, and made a great case to remain the starter in the future in Cincinnati.
Someone to add to the Pro Bowl snubs list is RG Bobbie Williams (+3.8). For the third straight year, he ranks as one of our top six guards. He was the best Bengal offensive lineman in both run blocking and pass blocking in this game, and deserves more attention than he gets.
For the past three games, DRE Michael Johnson (+4.5) has played on every snap on defense, and with a performance like this it’s easier to understand why. He came up with five of the 12 overall pressures the Bengals had, and was tied for the most stops with three. His season has been full of below average and slightly above average games, so a game like this is really one to remember for him.
For the Chargers HB Ryan Matthews (+1.3) had more snaps than usual due to Mike Tolbert’s injury. He had a nice 23-yard run for a touchdown and had 32 yards on his other 11 carries. WR Seyi Ajirotutu (-0.1) saw significantly less action as he was the fourth WR and the team used mostly three wide receiver sets.
Despite the Bengals being without their two starting receivers, Jordan Shipley (+0.1) saw less time with the offense and was only thrown at twice. TE Jermaine Gresham (-1.1) had one of his best games receiving with four catches, 56 yards and a touchdown, but was still a liability in run blocking. DE Carlos Dunlap (-0.1) and DT Geno Atkins (+2.7) both came off the bench typically in passing situations. Both were above average in the run, and came up with five combined pressures.
There were only eight penalties called in this game, none of which were on offense.