Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 12/27/11
REPORT CARD VS. CARDINALSPASSING OFFENSE: B -- The grade could be an "A" based on the Jerome Simpson 19-yard flip for a touchdown alone, but that would be easy. Andy Dalton was 15 of 22 for 136 yards and two TDs in the first half (his second best first half of the season) but was three of nine for 18 yards in the second half. Jermaine Gresham (five receptions, 56 yards) had a great catch for a first-quarter touchdown with Daryl Washington providing tight coverage. A.J. Green had two catches, but it's clear his shoulder is still bothering him. RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Bengals ran for a season-high 165 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards per carry. Surprisingly, the two longest runs of the day were by Green (22 yards on a reverse) and Dalton (17 yards on a quarterback sneak). Bernard Scott averaged 2.8 yards per carry but was solid on most of the runs. The biggest concern lies with Cedric Benson. Yes, he went over 1,000 yards for the season, but he had two fumbles on Cincinnati's side of the field that were recovered by the Cardinals. Benson has five fumbles the past two games, which is major. PASS DEFENSE: B -- An "A" for three quarters and then a near "F" for the final 15 minutes, when the Cardinals had six pass plays of 19 yards or more. The Bengals tied a season high with five sacks, leaving them four away from tying the team record. Jonathan Fanene got two sacks, and he has tied a career high with six on the season. Reggie Nelson got his team-leading fourth interception of the year, and Nate Clements got his second of the season. Rey Maualuga had a great pick in the first quarter, which atoned for a mistake earlier in the drive. RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The 59 yards given up is the second-lowest total of the season, as Beanie Wells was held in check. Five of Wells' 14 carries went for 2 yards or less. Arizona came into the game averaging 102.5 rushing yards per game, and the Bengals were giving up 107.7. Thomas Howard and Nelson tied for the team lead in tackles with six. SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- You have to give credit to the kickoff coverage team which held the Cardinals to an average start of their own 17-yard line. Andrew Hawkins made a good open field tackle on the opening kickoff, and Dan Skuta had two stops on kickoffs. Mike Nugent had an uncharacteristic two misses on field goals, leaving him 30-for-34 on the year. Kevin Huber averaged 39.6 yards net on five punts, with one inside the 20 and a touchback. Good job by Jeromy Miles on getting down there on a fourth-quarter punt and forcing Andre Roberts into a 2-yard loss. COACHING: B -- This team always finds a way to make things interesting, even with a 23-point fourth-quarter lead. The Bengals were ready to play at the opening kickoff. The biggest thing, though, is keeping the foot on the gas for all four quarters, which Cincinnati did not do against Houston or Arizona.
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