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Week 8

Bengals' offense may be even more putrid than you think

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Wednesday October 18, 2000 12:37 PM
Updated: Sunday October 22, 2000 3:26 PM

By Jon A. Dolezar,

  Lions at Buccaneers
Cardinals at Cowboys
Patriots at Colts
Rams at Chiefs
Bills at Vikings
Bears at Eagles
Titans at Ravens
Broncos at Bengals
Saints at Falcons
49ers at Panthers
Seahawks at Raiders
Browns at Steelers
Redskins at Jaguars
Dolphins at Jets

Sick of hearing superlatives about the Rams' offense? Me, too.

So in lieu of stroking the Rams' growing egos, let's demean the wretched Bengals' offense instead.

Cincinnati is last in the league with an average of only 239.8 yards per game. The Bengals' total of 1,439 yards in six games is 233 yards less than the Rams' output in their three best games.

The Bengals are scoring only 6.2 points per game, a total that's less than half of what the 30th-ranked Browns are putting up each contest (13.6).

Cincinnati is tied for 26th in turnover margin at -10 thanks largely to eight interceptions in 205 pass attempts.

The lone bright spot for the Bungles is their rushing total of 104.3 yards per game, which is good enough for 20th in the league. But when you're getting outscored 78-34 in the first half, the chances to run the football in the second half are minimal. Forced to throw often in an effort to come from behind, the Bengals still have managed only 813 passing yards in six games, an average of 135.5 per game. Kurt Warner bested that meager total in two games alone, totaling 831 yards against the Broncos in Week 1 (441) and Chargers in Week 5 (390). If Akili Smith and Scott Mitchell continue at their present pace they'll finish with 2,168 yards for the season -- 92 yards less than what Warner has thrown for in six games.

Cincinnati plays host to Denver on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium with little hope of reversing these trends, as the Broncos have won eight in a row and 14 of 20 all-time against the Bengals.

Week 8 NFL Recap
Lions 28 (5-2), Bucs 14 (3-4)
Review Key Stat
Game Summary and
Game Recap
12: Turnovers by Tampa Bay during its four-game losing streak. The Bucs had only one giveaway in their three-game winning streak to start the season.
Player of the Game
James Stewart, RB, Detroit: The tailback also known as "Little Man" came up big, rushing for 116 yards and three touchdowns.'s Breakdown
Tampa Bay continued its giving ways and Stewart and the Lions took full advantage. The Bucs had three turnovers for second consecutive game, giving the Lions a short field. After falling behind early, Detroit chewed up yardage and the clock behind the legs of Stewart, who was held to 13 yards in the Lions' 31-10 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 3. The Bucs, meanwhile, could do nothing offensively, mustering only four field goals from Martin Gramatica -- wasting seven sacks, a blocked punt and a blocked field goal. Shaun King completed only 17-of-34 passes and threw two interceptions as Tampa Bay dropped to 1-2 at home this season.

Week 8 NFL Preview
Cardinals (2-4) at Cowboys (2-4), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
.664: Cowboys' winning percentage in 76 meetings (50-25-1) with the Cardinals.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Struggling Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman (Career-low 38.5 quarterback rating and nine interceptions in 96 passing attempts) against Cardinals defensive backs Aeneas Williams, Kwamie Lassiter, Tom Knight and Pat Tillman (58 combined career interceptions).
Player to Watch
Emmitt Smith, RB, Dallas: Has only one 100-yard game this season (Week 5 at Carolina) but plays well against the Cardinals, with 24 rushing touchdowns in 21 games against Arizona, his most against any opponent.
Patriots (2-5) at Colts (4-2), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
11: Career wins by Drew Bledsoe against the Colts, his highest win total against any opponent.  Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Patriots linebackers Tedy Bruschi (53 total tackles, two stuffs), Andy Katzenmoyer (21 total tackles, one stuff), Ted Johnson (44 total tackles, 1 1/2 stuffs) and Chris Slade (45 total tackles, 3 1/2 sacks) against Colts running back Edgerrin James (885 total yards on 171 touches).
Player to Watch
Mike Vanderjagt, K, Indianapolis: Mr. Reliable has hit 10 consecutive field goals and 38 of his past 39 attempts.
Rams (6-0) at Chiefs (3-3), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
4: Consecutive games in which the Rams have scored more than 40 points, tying the 1960 Chargers for the NFL record. Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Rams running back Marshall Faulk (1,083 total yards on 142 touches) against Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards (46 solo tackles, two interceptions, 2 1/2 stuffs).
Player to Watch
Kurt Warner, QB, St. Louis: Tied with former 49ers quarterback Steve Young for most consecutive 300-yard games with six. Warner has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 22 of his NFL starts.
Bills (3-3) at Vikings (6-0), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
21: Years since the last meeting between these teams in Minnesota, when Tommy Kramer hit Ahmad Rashad for a 19-yard touchdown for the only touchdown in a 10-3 Vikings win.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Undersized Bills cornerbacks Ken Irvin (5-11) and Antoine Winfield (5-9) against tall, athletic Vikings wide receivers Randy Moss (34 touchdown catches in 38 career games) and Cris Carter (65 touchdowns catches in past 86 games).
Player to Watch
Gary Anderson, K, Minnesota: Steady veteran needs only 10 points (presently at 1,993) to pass George Blanda as the NFL's all-time leading scorer (2,002).
Bears (1-6) at Eagles (4-3), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
.817: Bears' winning percentage (24-5-1) against the Eagles, including wins in seven of the past nine.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Second-year Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (59.7 completion percentage compared to 49.1 percent in his rookie season) against Bears defense that is ranked 28th with 359.9 yards per game against.
Player to Watch
Brian Urlacher, LB, Chicago: Overcame early-season struggles to emerge as leading candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Urlacher has 71 total tackles, six sacks (most among all NFL linebackers and tied for tops among rookies with Saints defensive end Darren Howard ), two stuffs and one interception.
Titans (5-1) at Ravens (5-2), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
34:22: Titans' AFC-leading time of possession, thanks largely to Eddie George's average of 27.7 carries and 110.3 yards per game.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis (64 total tackles, 4 1/2 stuffs) against Titans running back Eddie George (on pace for career-high totals of 442 carries for 1,765 yards and 13 touchdowns).
Player to Watch
Tony Banks, QB, Baltimore: Struggling passer fared well in only previous meeting with the Titans, throwing for 332 yards on four touchdowns in a win against Tennessee on Dec. 5, 1999.
Broncos (4-3) at Bengals (0-6), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
14-to-1: League-leading touchdown to interception ratio for Broncos quarterback Brian Griese.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Bengals running back Corey Dillon (on pace for career-low 861 yards rushing and two touchdowns) against Broncos middle linebacker Al Wilson (22 total tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and 1 1/2 stuffs).
Player to Watch
Rod Smith, WR, Denver: Griese's favorite target is having a career year and is on pace for 105 catches for 1,657 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Saints (3-3) at Falcons (2-5), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
9-3: Dan Reeves' career coaching record against the Saints, including a mark of 6-0 as head coach of the Falcons.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Falcons' struggling rushing attack (ranked 30th in the league with 64.7 yards per game) against the Saints' No. 1-ranked defense which allows only 220.7 yards per game.
Player to Watch
Ricky Williams, RB, New Orleans: After being trumped by Edgerrin James in their rookie seasons, Williams is keeping Edge on edge in their sophomore campaigns, with 851 yards compared to James' 895 yards.
49ers (2-5) at Panthers (2-4), 1 p.m.
Key Stat
2,406: Combined yards of offense in the past three games between Carolina and San Francisco.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
49ers running back Charlie Garner (967 total yards on 163 touches) against Panthers rookie middle linebacker Lester Towns (36 totals tackles and four stuffs).
Player to Watch
Jeff Garcia, QB, San Francisco: Red-hot Niners signal-caller has gone 142 passes without throwing an interception and has 13 touchdown passes in his past four games.
Seahawks (2-5) at Raiders (5-1), 4:05 p.m.
Key Stat
1990: Last time the Raiders started 6-1, a season in which they won the AFC West and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Raiders fullback Jon Ritchie blocking (only 14 carries in 36 career games) against Seahawks linebackers Chad Brown (44 total tackles, 2 1/2 sacks), George Koonce (49 total tackles, 1 1/2 tackles), Anthony Simmons (61 total tackles, two sacks, 3 1/2 stuffs).
Player to Watch
Rich Gannon, QB, Oakland: Ranked eighth among league's starting quarterbacks with 90.5 rating, and has a 99.3 rating with 453 yards and four touchdowns in his past two games against the Seahawks.
Browns (2-5) at Steelers (3-3), 4:05 p.m.
Key Stat
.727: Steelers' NFL-best winning percentage in October (16-6) since 1995.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Browns quarterback Tim Couch (2-0 against Steelers with a 111.9 passer rating) against Steelers free safety Brent Alexander (16 total tackles and two interceptions) and Lee Flowers (27 total tackles and one interception).
Player to Watch
Jerome Bettis, RB, Pittsburgh: "The Bus" has rolled to 515 of his 523 yards and five touchdowns in the past five games after gaining only eight yards against the Ravens in Week 1. Bettis has 321 yards and a 4.7 average per carry in his past three games against the Browns.
Redskins (5-2) at Jaguars (2-5), 4:15 p.m.
Key Stat
101: Combined receptions by Jaguars wide receivers Keenan McCardell (54) and Jimmy Smith (47) for 1,236 yards.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Jaguars running back Fred Taylor (66 carries for 247 yards and one touchdown in four games) against Redskins linebackers Shawn Barber (36 total tackles, two sacks, five stuffs), Derek Smith (41 total tackles, one sack, three stuffs) and LaVar Arrington (16 total tackles, one sack, two stuffs).
Player to Watch
Marco Coleman, DE, Washington: Veteran pass rusher already has a career-high nine sacks and has also made 27 total tackles, 3 1/2 stuffs and one fumble recovery.
Dolphins (5-1) at Jets (5-1), 9:00 p.m. Monday
Key Stat
64: NFL-leading appearance by the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.   Stats matchup | Preview
Key Matchup
Jets offensive tackles Jason Fabini and Ryan Young against Dolphins defensive ends Jason Taylor (19 total tackles, five sacks) and Trace Armstrong (17 total tackles, 10 sacks).
Player to Watch
Jay Fiedler, QB, Miami: Long Island native (Oceanside High School) needs to cut down on interceptions (six in 140 attempts) for the Dolphins to get the road win.

Related information
Stories's NFL Week 8 At A Glance's NFL Week 8 Burning Questions
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