Grading The Game: Bengals

Is that a failing offense in Minnesota? It sure looked like it Sunday, and the grades reflect it.

PASSING OFFENSE: F — Daunte Culpepper's career-high five interceptions and career-low quarterback rating of 36.4 in Sunday's 37-8 loss at Cincinnati give him 10 turnovers and eight picks in two games. An MVP candidate in 2004, Culpepper has looked lost so far.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D — No. 1 running back Michael Bennett was benched after his second fumble of the game and finished with three rushes for 36 yards. The Vikings gained 77 yards on 14 carries (5.5 average), an improvement on their 26 yards on 16 carries (1.6) in the opener, but still nowhere near where they need to be in order to succeed.

PASS DEFENSE: D — Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer connected with Chad Johnson on a 70-yard bomb for a touchdown on the second play of the game, taking advantage of a complete breakdown by the defense. Palmer finished with 337 passing yards and three touchdowns as the new-look defense looked much like last season's version.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus — The Bengals did not have a 100-yard rusher, Rudi Johnson finished with 90 yards, but Ted Cottrell's defense surrendered 167 yards on the ground, the third most rushing yards given up by any team Sunday. This despite the fact Cottrell used Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams at left end at times in an alignment designed to stop the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C — Rookie Chris Kluwe had another impressive performance, averaging 46.7 yards (41.7 net) on three punts. However, the Vikings return game continued to be a non-factor. Rookie Troy Williamson was removed as the primary kick returner after averaging 13.2 yards on five returns.

COACHING: D — Mike Tice's team has one offensive touchdown in eight quarters and the defense took a step backward after being a bright spot in Week 1. Tice prides himself on his ability to coach offense, but with 12 turnovers in two games he and new offensive coordinator Steve Loney have been left searching for answers and, so far, unable to find any solutions. The Bengals jumped on the Vikings early Sunday and could have won by a much bigger margin than 29 if they had played a complete game. This certainly isn't the way to make a favorable impression on new owner Zygi Wilf.




Viking Update Top Stories