The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 23, 1991 · Page 38
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 38

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Monday, September 23, 1991
Page 38
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w V Vs - ---w r-r- p -w - D-4Denga!s the Cincinnati enquirer Monday, September 23, 1991 TC. Redskins 34, Bengals 27 Offense comes to life r jar- W 9 ' iy cry, u r" -i: " - ) A r L'fe Mfo y v n ; ,7 111 y7 mmamtiaitijmmlMM ... -. .. - .. ,J..,-i., 1.' " v BY JACK BRENNAN The Cincinnati Enquirer The Bengals' offense woke up Sunday, even if not to a victory. The unit that had managed only 34 points in three games scored 27 and against a Washington defense that had allowed only 31 in three games. The Bengals gained 322 yards, 136 on the ground and 186 passing; "I really felt like we got a chance to play today, to use our speed on the outside and throw to everyone," said quarterback Boomer Esiason. "It was more the type of offense we're accustomed to. I don't know if the Redskins realized that, because they've seen three films on us and we've looked awful. "But today, we weren't that, and I think maybe we caught them a little off guard." Esiason, however, was far from fully satisfied with his 17-for-38 passing day for one interception and no touchdowns. He was sacked four times, but said he felt he had "good protection all day long." "But I threw a couple of balls I wish I could have thrown an inch or two one way or the other," he said, "balls that would have been a little Bengals linebacker Alfred Williams grabs Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien by the jersey, forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter that led toa'field ' """"" is coming latest loss easier for our guys to catch. That's the way this game is, though. If you make a mistake, you pay for it." ; The passing game was indeed plagued by drops most of the day, and often the fault seemed to be shared. Esiason would make a pas that wasn't quite as good as it could have been, and his receiver would fail to control a still-catcK-able ball. ; Pro Bowl tight end Rodney Hol-man had three such plays. "I think I had more balls thrown to the tight end position today than in any of the first three games, and I'm a little down on myself," Hol-man said. "Every pass is not going to be perfect, not going to be in the ideal position, and any time a ball hits my hands, I feel I should catch it." Said coach Sam Wyche: ; "If we don't drop balls, maybe it's a different game. Certainly there were a lot of situations where third-down dropped balls stopped drives. It's too bad, but the guys don't do that on purpose." Wyche praised Esiason's toughness in the pocket. "Boomer played his heart out," Wyche said. "He took a lot of late hits. He knew (the Redskins) were after him and trying to get him out of that ballgame." Esiason also scrambled three times for 28 yards, including third down runs of nine and 16 yards for first downs. In the first three games, he had only 18 yards rushing on six carries. "So many teams have played zone on us that it has been almost impossible to run before today," Esiason said. "There was always somebody in the middle waiting for you." 66-yard punt return for a touchdown. Washington made it 27-10 early in the third quarter, but the Bengals didn't fold. Craig Taylor's 1-yard run capped a 90-yard touchdown drive with 6:12 left in the third quarter, and Taylor ran 34 yards for a score with 1:37 left in the period. Breech's field goal tied the score some seven minutes later, raising upset hopes that proved unfounded. Tight end Rodney Holman promised that Bengals fans will see "a totally different ballclub" on Oct. 6, when Cincinnati returns to action after a bye week with a home game against Seattle. Bengals fans might like that. Though Wyche said the 61 -point game would leave no one complaining about getting his "money's worth" for the afternoon, his team's microscopic playoff hopes may have some fans questioning the roughly $150 they still have uea up in eacn season ticket, Cincinnati I 1 u wunington 1 91 1 7-M i-V Flrit Ouarttr Wn-FG Lonmier 40, 4:40. Cln-Brooki 5 run (BfMch kick), 14:02. ttcond Ouvttr Wa-Riggi 1 run (Lohmilar kick), 5:5J. Cln-FG Breach 46, fit. Wai-Rlggj 1 run (LohmlKar kick), 11:12. Ws Mitchell M punt return (Lohmlller kick), 12-47, Third Quarter Wai-FG Lohmlller 26, 2:59, Cln-Taylor I run (Breach kick 1, 1:48. Cln-Taylor 34 run (Breech kick), 13:23. 1 Fourth Quartar Cln-FG Breech 25, 5:12. ' Wai-Rlggi 7 run (Lohmlller kick), !J:SI. ' A-52,03t. l Criticism following BY JACK BRENNAN The Cincinnati Enquirer General Manager Mike Brown said Sunday that the Bengals should expect to be criticized the next two weeks as a fact of NFL life. Cincinnati takes an 0-4 record into its bye week and will next play on Oct. 6 at home against Seattle. "It's just the fact," Brown said, in stark contrast to the position of head coach Sam Wyche. "You're better off saying very little, and going on to next week. You take your lumps and put it behind you. If it's a close game, or whatever it is, you lose and you hear about it. "We played with great effort (against Washington). We made some splendid plays. But we happened to make enough errors to lose." Wyche has said the Bengals should not be criticized by reporters or fans as long as they make "a winning effort." Asked if he felt the Bengals deserve to be criticized, Brown said: "You're always going to be criticized when you're 0-4. We're going to tackle what's going to be a long couple of weeks. We just need to get our bearings and play a little better, and if we do, we'll get it going in the right direction." FRIENDLY FANS: The Bengals reported 4,414 no-shows for Sunday's game, perhaps a reflection of some fan discontentment. But the Bengals felt well-supported by most of the 52,038 in attendance. "The people wanted us to win badly, and it was good to hear the fans on our side screaming up until the end of the game," said quarterback Boomer Esiason. "They were loud today. They were good. And when I came off the field, I heard, 'Hang in there, hang in there.' " Said center Bruce Kozerski: "I think the people saw we really did try hard. I don't think they have any qualms with the way we played." Esiason said the crowd in no way reminded him of Bengals crowds during the controversy filled 4-11 strike year of 1987. "Oh, gosh no," he said. "That was miserable back then." CLOSE CALLS: The Bengals and Redskins split on two close calls on which Washington quarterback Mark Rypien was hit while trying to pass and separated from the ball. With approximately five minutes left in the third quarter, cor-nerback Rod Jones blitzed, hit Rypien and forced a loose ball that Cincinnati recovered in the end zone. But the officials ruled it an incomplete pass. The call withstood a replay review. Washington led, 27-17, at the time. Early in the fourth quarter, with Washington's lead down to 27-24, Alfred Williams hit Rypien and forced a loose ball that teammate Alonzo Mitz recovered at the Redskin 46. The play was ruled a sack Redskins receiver Art Monk outraces Lewis Billups for a 54-yard Bengals f 7 popped just right, but their middle backer (Matt Millen) comes off the block at the last second and makes a great play. "We came back and ran the thing again to see if we could get it done, and it didn't work." Said quarterback Boomer Esiason: "It was something we felt very confident about, but sometimes players just make plays. If we make 17 yards, it's a great call. If not, some people will say it's a bum call." On defense, the question was a distressingly old one. Why were the Redskins able to march 53 yards for the winning touchdown without putting the ball in the air? Why was the defense, as it had been in Cleveland the week before, and as it has been several times before that, impotent in crunch time? "They just outplayed us in that last drive," said Wyche. "We gave it everything we had, and they gave it everything they had, and they came out on top. I don't know if you (reporters) can repeat it so your (readers) can understand that, but I sure hope you'll try. That would be a nice, refreshing thing to read in the paper." Linebackers Carl Zander and Alfred Williams offered a more analytical explantion. They said Washington hurt the Bengals by putting four wide receivers in the game and then running the ball i I s t and a fumble, and withstood a review. The Bengals drove from there for a tying field goal. Wyche called the second play "clearly a fumble." As for the call that went against Cincinnati, he said: "It was darn close. You had to go with how the play was called on the field. I wish he'd have called them both fumbles, but I don't think the replay would have changed it either way." O-FOR-ALFRED: Rookie linebacker Alfred Williams says this is the first time he can remember losing four in a row in organized football. ''Actually," said Williams, "I can't remember losing two games consecutively in college or high school. The worst season I can remember was an 8-3 at Colorado, and we didn't lose two in a row. "This is something I don't want to get used to. I hate it dearly. But I have to learn that I can only affect what I do in the game. I just have to try to maximize the things I can do to help us get a win." STILL A PROBLEM: Wyche didn't claim it affected the outcome, but he clearly was frustrated with the officials' reactions to the Bengals' attempts to snap the ball when they thought Washington had too many men on the field. Washington was not penalized for the offense during the game. "I give up," Wyche said. "This is getting to be a crapshoot every week. We'll get a phone call (from the league office) on Tuesday and get another apology. It'll be the fourth week in a row things like this have happened. "We asked (the officials), please tell us what rules we're playing by today. If (Redskins players) are almost off the field, or if they're offsides by 25 yards and five yards on the field, is that going to be a penalty if they're the 12th man?" Referee Stan Kemp nullified one possible penalty call against Washington by saying that the Bengals had substituted before the play without giving the Redskins a chance to substitute. "I swear on everything I own that we made no attempt (to substitute)," Wyche said. BROOKS, JONES HURT: Bengals rushing leader James Brooks suffered an aggravation of a twisted ankle late in the first half, apparently on a tackle by Andre Collins after a pass reception. Brooks didn't play in the second half and finished the game with 15 rushing yards on seven carries. He was on crutches after the game, but is expected to be ready for the Oct. 6 Seattle game. Cornerback Rod Jones won't make the Seattle game. He suffered a broken arm while tackling " Brian Mitchell on a kickoff return in the late third quarter. . ,m m.a.-.-. 4 ,J J The Cincinnati EnquirerCathy A. Lyons catch in the first quarter. against the nickel defense the Bengals used to counter the extra receivers. The nickel, for the most part, employs smaller and quicker players than the base defense. "They got us out there in a spread-out defense and ran the ball down into field-goal range," said Zander. "Then we had a broken play (on a 20-yard run by Riggs to the Cincinnati 9-yard line)." Said Williams: "We had our '41' (nickel) personnel in, and (Earnest) Byner's a tough runner. He just got behind his blockers and pushed his way for a few yards here and there, and before you knew it, they were down on the goal line." Byner opened the winning drive with runs of 5, 12 and 7 yards. Washington scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half to take a 24-10 lead at intermission. Starting a drive at his own 20 with 5:38 left in the half, Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien connected with Art Monk on a 54-yard play. Cornerback Lewis Billups was in coverage, but it appeared that safety Rickey Dixon missed an assignment to help on the play. A pass interference call on Rod Jones gave Washington the ball at the 1, from where Riggs scored at the 3:48 mark. The Bengals then failed to make a first down, and Washington's Brian Mitchell responded with a CONTINUED FROM PAGE D-l on Jim Breech's 25-yard field goal with 9:48 to play, Washington moved for two first downs and then threw an interception that had the effect of a coffin-corner punt. Rookie cornerback Richard Fain picked off a Mark Rypien pass at the Cincinnati 2-yard line, and the offense couldn't dig out of the hole. After Lee Johnson punted to the Washington 47-yard line, the Redskins drove 53 yards in six running plays for what proved to be the winning touchdown. Gerald Riggs' 7-yard run for his third touchdown of the day came with 2:02 to play. The Bengals responded with one first down, then turned it over on downs for Washington to run out the clock. There were questions for the Bengals to answer regarding both pivotal possessions while the score was tied. On offense, why did they run Harold Green off tackle on sec-ond-and-10 from the 2, and again on third-and-8 from the 4? Green got only 3 yards on the two carries, and Johnson was forced to punt from his end zone. Wyche explained that the Bengals felt the running plays had more potential for a big gain than passing plays. "I'm looking right down the hole (on the second-down play), and it is within a hair of going all the way," Wyche said, conjuring the image of a 98-yard run. "It a.- at.aam.tii a. It ifc i .K. taa-ftj jtataaatatOfcaifca

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