Bengals Plan to Setup Pass with Run

Despite Carson Palmer's 107.8 quarterback rating, the Bengals plan to attack the Bears with the ground game in order setup success in the air. Something the Lions were never able to do against the Chicago defense.

"Defensively it's a huge challenge for us," Palmer said. "We've got to be able to run the ball on these guys and get them out that Cover 2 and then try to throw it on them."

Palmer sees the Bears base defense, the cover 2, as something that can be taken advantage of over the course of a game.

"It's normally a coverage that's susceptible to the run," Palmer said. "You want to run the ball into it. It's a simple coverage that when played well with the right guys in the right spots like Tampa did a couple of years ago it's tough to beat."

The Bears held Detroit to 29 yards rushing, which made their offense one-dimensional and allowed the defense to go after Joey Harrington.

At 2-0, the Bengals are flying high in league statistics. The Bengals are ranked No. 1 in total offense (462 yards a game), third in pass offense (304.5) and tied for fourth in rushing (157.5). The Bengals' 52 first downs also are the most in the NFL.

Cincinnati has a similar running back duo to that of the Bears. Rudi Johnson is the starter and has performed well thus far, averaging 108 yards on the ground in two. His backup is former first round pick Chris Perry, who is also coming into his own, averaging 4.1 yards on 14 carries.

Taking Kevin Jones out of the game led to the Bears picking off Harrington five times in their 38-6 victory over the Lions.

However, doing the same to Palmer will prove more difficult. In his last five starts, four victories, he has 14 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions. Four times in those five games he has thrown for 250 yards or more. His 337 passing yards against Minnesota marked the second-highest total in his career.

"We do a good job of spreading the ball around and do a good job in the running game," Palmer said. "With teams that are one-dimensional, that have just one guy they throw it to consistently it's a little easier to slow down."

Palmer has been sacked just twice in 74 pass attempts, but does have respect for the type of pressure the Bears have been able to put on opposing quarterbacks. Although Chicago has just one sack from their front four, consistent pressure has forced quarterbacks into bad decisions.

"If you give Carson Palmer a lot of time he will pick you apart," said DE Michael Haynes, who could start in place of the injured Adewale Ogunleye. "He's a talented quarterback."

Thanks to their potent offense, the Bengals have trailed for just six minutes in two games. The Bears defense believes they among the best in the league and have proved it thus far, but do it against the highest ranked offense would be to take it to another level.

"Cincinnati poses quite a few problems for us," said head coach Lovie Smith. "Offensively, the No. 1 offense coming into town, a great quarterback who is playing at a high level. So it will be a big challenge for our defense. We're looking forward to playing against them."


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