The Patriots didn’t exactly put on a show last night against the Bengals. In the Patriots first game at home this season they simply didn’t seem to have it. It really was a bizarre night at Patriot Place. For one thing Tom Brady and many Pats fans came into the game looking to see what Brady’s reaction would be to a big hit. They got their wish as he was twice leveled to the ground by Bengals defenders. Both times he got up and was fine. Baby steps perhaps but a still a good sign on the Patriots progress towards the regular season. Other than that relative good news it was a bleak night for the Patriots.
It is never my intention to single out players in their poor performance but last night it what ended up being a single-digit Bengals win, mistakes cost the Patriots. It is professional football and these players are being paid, significantly more than most of us. So with that disclaimer out of the way here are a few players that should be concerned after last night’s performance. Number one on that list has to be the Patriots second year corner Terrence Wheatley. He was beaten badly twice in the second quarter. On one play he was bailed out with an offensive pass interference call, but on 4th and 17 the Bengals were able to gash Wheatley for a touchdown their only points of the game. All night Wheatley looked uncomfortable and for him it only gets worse, rookie Darius Butler was flying around the field last night breaking up passes. To add insult to injury it was Chad Ochocinco who delivered the PAT that at the time gave the Bengals a 7-3 lead. With kicker Shayne Graham out with a strain, Ochocinco handled some kick-off duty as well. And of course as he mentioned after the game, he was actually quite capable. Ochocinco quipped, “It's easy. It's like riding a bike. You don't forget much.”
Both of the Patriots other options at quarterback Brian Hoyer (11/19, 112 Yards) and Kevin O’Connell (8/15 84 Yards) moved the ball well but were unable to come up with anything besides an additional field goal. With the Patriots in field goal range with just under four minutes left in the fourth quarter BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled on third down preventing the Patriots from attempting a go-ahead field goal. The Bengals held on for the 7-6 win, without any scoring in the second half, that’s preseason football for you.
The Patriots next play in Washington a week from today in front of a national CBS audience.
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Written by Nich Hall