Second-quarter notes and random thoughts …
2:59 p.m. MST: Unfortunately for the Broncos, it looks as though Brandon Marshall’s 36-yard reception of Jay Cutler’s deep pass after a lateral from Tatum Bell will not stand. Cincinnati challenged the call, and while it looked like Marshall dragged one foot inbounds, it didn’t look as though he had the other one down before establishing full control … too bad, because it might have been the most thrilling play of the Broncos’ season to date.
3:02 p.m. MST: OK, I was wrong. Maybe my friends are right … I am a pessimist. Fantastic play. The potential that exists with the Cutler-Marshall collaboration is as delicious as a gingerbread cookie with cream-cheese frosting.
3:04 p.m. MST: Tatum Bell … stopped.
Mike Bell … stopped.
The door to the Bengals end zone seems as impenetrable as months-old-fruitcake.
3:05 p.m. MST: Maybe I should just keep up the pessimism, because that’s twice in five minutes in which I’ve been proven wrong. The Cutler-to-Scheffler combination strikes again.
3:09 p.m. MST: The snow’s intensity continues to increase as the crowd has become electric. Cincinnati back in the no-huddle offense; it reminds me of the Sam Wyche/Boomer Esiason days.
3:12 p.m. MST: Chad Johnson’s first career fumble lost … Champ Bailey pounces on the football … a second Broncos touchdown in as many offensive plays … Jay Cutler now the first rookie in NFL history with two touchdown passes in each of his first four games (although Dan Marino also did it in his first four starts) … sellout crowd going berserk … can’t type more than sentence fragments … feel a little overwhelmed, like Ned Flanders when he found out Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson weren’t baptized … can’t help but get a tad excited here, eh?
3:14 p.m. MST: And as the snow begins to cease, Paul Ernster, seemingly fueled by a hive-like buzz in this stadium, nearly sends the kickoff flying through the end zone.
3:21 p.m. MST: After going no-huddle on most of the drive, the Bengals retreat to the huddle before a key third-and-7 from the Denver 26 … and Willie Anderson takes a holding penalty that moves the Bengals back to the Denver 31. Giant third-down play here … and give both Darrent Williams and John Lynch credit for defusing the flanker screen to Houshmanzadeh — Williams for holding up the Pro Bowl alternate and Lynch for providing the finishing hit. Shayne Graham drills the ensuing field goal, though, and the Broncos’ lead is trimmed to four points.
3:24 p.m. MST: I hate to admit this, but the more I see these ads for Armed & Famous with F-list celebrities Trish Stratus, Jack Osbourne, LaToya Jackson, Erik Estrada and Jason “Wee Man” Acuna, the more I want to watch this. Seems like The Surreal Life with the threat of deadly gunplay. It looks so bloody atrocious that it could well be brilliant.
3:26 p.m. MST: More Broncos offensive chicanery with Brandon Marshall on the reverse for a 6-yard gain to the left side … a play later, though, the flanker screen goes nowhere, as Walker makes the reception amidst of a gaggle of tiger stripes.
3:28 p.m. MST: Four months ago, John Lynch pegged Hamza Abdullah as a player to watch … with a vicious hit on a punt return, he shows why. Paul Ernster’s net on the punt is 59 yards, and the Bengals begin this coming possession at their 21.
3:32 p.m. MST: An exquisite open-field tackle on Houshmanzadeh by Domonique Foxworth gives the Broncos a three-and-out stand.
3:34 p.m. MST: As the coaches often say, the one thing you can’t do is fumble … and Tatum Bell just did for a second time in a row.
3:39 p.m. MST: Of course, now that the Bengals want to use some clock, they huddle … and let me be the first of many to say that it’s appropriate that a man named Ebenezer just played Scrooge to Palmer by sacking him.
3:41 p.m. MST: And now, the price of Tatum Bell’s fumble becomes clear after Chris Henry snares the pass from Palmer after working against Darrent Williams for a sliver of open space. Denver trails 17-14 with 43 seconds left in the half, although Denver has two timeouts remaining.
3:43 p.m. MST: Mike Bell in at tailback.
3:47 p.m. MST: Denver uses its final timeout with two seconds left and fourth-and-9, perhaps to set up a “Hail Mary” toss.
3:48 p.m. MST: Or maybe not. Halftime in Denver; Broncos trail, 17-14.
Tags: Cincinnati Bengals