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Week 1 vs. DEN
Passing: 21 - 33, 247 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 1 / 2 / 0
Carson Palmer looked rusty after missing most of the preseason due to an ankle injury. He started the game well and was effectively using big play weapons like Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry in the first half. Palmer was aided by Cedric Benson and the ground game which helped keep the Broncos defense true, but too often their drives were de-railed by dropped passes, mainly from Laveranues Coles. The second half opened up with Palmer working out of the shotgun, but again the first drive stalled when Coles dropped another pass on 3rd and 7. The next drive the Broncos defense really turned up the heat, and sacked Palmer two times in a row. This seemed to get to Palmer, and he started throwing awkwardly and even moved his base foot as he threw one time, which led to a sailing (and incomplete) pass. In the fourth-quarter things started to get back on track for Palmer. He was again working out of the shotgun, and using Ochocinco and Andre Caldwell on short passes where they could use their run after the catch ability. Cedric Benson scored a touchdown with less than one minute to go, and the game seemed to be at hand. Then Brandon Stokley caught the "Immaculate Deflection" and the Bengals looked like the Bungles once again.
Week 2 vs. GB
Passing: 15 - 23, 185 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 2 / 1 / 1
Palmer looked more comfortable in the pocket this week and again showed that arm strength isn't an issue. All three of his touchdown passes were well designed plays that Palmer executed perfectly. He hit Laverneaus Coles on a great play action fake, connected with Chris Henry in the back of the end zone after an audible to reset his pass protection and hit Chad Ochocinco in stride on a slant. However, Palmer was more inconsistent than his numbers against the Packers would suggest. His accuracy was off at times and a terrible decision on a second and long throw was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. As he did last week against Denver, Palmer improved as the game progressed.
Week 3 vs. PIT
Passing: 20 - 37, 183 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 1 / 0
Palmer was better than his numbers suggest. He chose to throw the ball away early rather than force passes into coverage and the Steeler defense also knocked down eight passes. Both factored heavily into his relatively unimpressive completion percentage and yardage totals. Although the offense sputtered early, Palmer was on target throughout the second half and led the Bengals on two fourth quarter touchdown drives. Palmer's ability to avoid sacks and crippling interceptions, two issues that have hurt the offense during the first two weeks, is further evidence of his growing comfort in the pocket.
Week 4 vs. CLE
Passing: 23 - 44, 230 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 3 / 20 / 0
Palmer had a solid statistical effort in Cleveland and spread the ball around to eight different receivers. He was inconsistent, however, missing on timing routes and having his receivers make a different read on the defensive back than he did at times, leading to a just over 50% completion rate. The Browns held the downfield passing game in check by using lots of Cover-2, and Palmer mostly checked down to underneath routes, making only one poor decision on a deep sideline route that was easily intercepted. Palmer did look more mobile than he has in recent seasons, rolling out to avoid the pass rush and showing some acceleration on a fifteen yard scramble on a fourth down play in overtime.
Week 5 vs. BAL
Passing: 18 - 31, 271 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 5 / 18 / 0
Palmer led his team to another strong comeback win, this time on the road against a stout Baltimore defense. Palmer moved well in the pocket and helped his offensive line keep the Raven pressure from shutting down the passing game. Aside from a couple of dropped balls and passes he intentionally threw away, Palmer was very accurate, even when challenging the Raven defense downfield. Palmer did make one big mistake when he failed to locate Ed Reed jumping a hook route, resulting in an interception Reed returned for a touchdown.
Week 6 vs. HOU
Passing: 23 - 35, 259 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 1 / 2 / 0
Palmer had a tremendous first half, showing a strong arm and pinpoint accuracy on 13 of 19 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown. He was again fluid in avoiding the pass rush. The second half was a different story. Dropped passes, near-misses and three-and-out drives kept the Bengals from extending drives and making big plays. Palmer's lone interception came on a forced throw into zone coverage late in the fourth quarter.
Week 7 vs. CHI
Passing: 20 - 24, 233 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT
Palmer put on a show in the red zone in the first half. His first four touchdown passes were to four different receivers. He came out firing on the first drive, hitting downfield passes to Chad Ochocinco and Chris Henry, and finishing the drive with a touchdown pass to Henry while rolling out. Palmer drove the Bengals down the field and notched his fifth touchdown pass for good measure in the second half.
Week 9 vs. BAL
Passing: 20 - 33, 224 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1 / 10 / 0
Palmer led his team to scores on their first three drives, continuing an amazingly high percentage of successful scoring drives from within the red zone. Palmer extended multiple plays by moving well inside and outside the pocket and again spread the ball around to multiple receivers. He underthrew a deep ball to Chad Ochocinco and failed to hit on a couple of deep outs but was generally active on the day. Though he continues to hand off with his passing hand due to a thumb injury, any concerns about his plant leg or throwing elbow are well behind him.
Week 10 vs. PIT
Passing: 18 - 30, 178 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 5 / -2 / 0
Palmer struggled against Pittsburgh. The Steelers were able to get enough pressure on him to rush a few throws and their corners successfully jumped routes early. Palmer never got into a consistent rhythm, misfiring on a number of downfield throws that he usually hits, especially on deep timing routes with Chad Ochocinco. Palmer continues to move well in the pocket and was again able to avoid throwing bad interceptions, though only narrowly this week.
Week 11 vs. OAK
Passing: 14 - 22, 207 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 4 / 7 / 2
The Bengals elected to rely heavily on the run after jumping out to an early lead and then trying to grind the clock down in the second half. Palmer threw relatively few passes as a result. He was accurate downfield, connecting on a high percentage of passes to Chad Ochocinco, Laverneaus Coles and Andre Caldwell. He was pressured more often by Oakland than in the previous few weeks, sacked three times and hit frequently after releasing the ball on other passes. Palmer also played the role of goal line vulture, punching in two one yard touchdown runs. Palmer's lone interception came on the game's final play, a Hail Mary toss intercepted well short of the end zone.
Week 12 vs. CLE
Passing: 13 - 24, 110 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 15 / 0
Palmer was pressured on nearly every pass play in the first half and struggled to settle into the flow of the game. He was forced to move as his wide receivers were just getting into their breaks and often chose to run from the pocket rather than keep plays alive in the backfield. He was often inaccurate when he did throw, missing Laverneaus Coles multiple times on short routes and deeper timing routes that they'd hit earlier in the year.
Week 13 vs. DET
Passing: 17 - 29, 220 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 5 / 7 / 0
The Bengals started the game throwing the ball more often than in previous weeks, with Palmer looking to Chad Ochocinco and Laverneaus Coles often during the first three series. Palmer and Ochocinco were in sync during throughout the first half and Palmer was able to hit Ochocinco in small windows between multiple defenders in zone coverage and dropped a long post pass into space perfectly on Ochocinco's touchdown catch. The Bengals again looked to establish the run for most of the final three quarters. During that time, many of Palmer's incompletions were due to inaccuracy, including both interceptions. Palmer also seems to be less stable in the pocket, needing to step up early in his progressions and taking off for short gains on scrambles. He could have had a second touchdown pass had tight end Ben Coats not dropped yet another pass in the end zone.
Week 14 vs. MIN
Passing: 15 - 25, 94 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 4 / 10 / 0
Palmer was under pressure for most of the game, and despite not turning the ball over; he was never really able to establish an offensive rhythm for his team. He made several solid throws, but in general, the offense struggled to get anything going. He made several bad throws behind and over the heads of his receivers, mostly due to the pressure of the Viking offensive front four. On the TD pass, Palmer laid out the perfect pass for Chad Ochocinco and he came down with it for an easy TD. However, later in the game, he threw a corner fade route to Ochocinco that would have been a TD if he hit the back corner of the end zone. However, the pass was underthrown and it was knocked down by Cedric Griffin for an incomplete. Palmer was pulled late in the fourth quarter when the Vikings were up by 20 and the game was out of reach.
Week 15 vs. SD
Passing: 27 - 40, 314 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 1 / 0 / 0
Palmer had one of his best statistical games of the season. Cincinnati used a very pass-heavy approach to the game, throwing it 40 times versus just 21 rushes. Early on, he looked to be on point, converting a number of third down situations with a lot of short and intermediate stuff. Then he finally connected on a long one to WR Chad Ochocinco for a 49 yard touchdown, a rare big play against this San Diego defense. He was given plenty of time not only on that play but on most of his dropbacks, right through the second half. He went over 200 yards passing early in the third quarter, and tossed another touchdown pass late to WR Laveranues Coles (a nice look near the sideline in the end zone). He followed that up with a keeper up the middle for the two point conversion that put Cincinnati down just three. On the game-tying drive, he was the one who out-ran S Eric Weddle to get to a loose ball fumble, and then, facing a third down and 30, connected on a perfect pass to WR Quan Cosby for a 23 yard reception to help set up the game-tying kick. Now, this is not to suggest that Palmer was mistake-free. He fumbled on an early sack and the ball sat on the ground for a long time, but fortunately his offensive lineman recovered it. He was nearly intercepted on a pass over the middle on an in route to Ochocinco. And he should've been picked in the end zone by CB Quentin Jammer, who had the ball softly bounce off his hands for what should have been an easy interception. Finally, Palmer DID throw an interception to Jammer on a terrible pass intended for Ochocinco on a slant that was thrown much too far to the inside. Still, with all of the positive things Palmer did in this game, the small number of negatives were far easier to take.
Week 16 vs. KC
Passing: 17 - 25, 139 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 2 / 2 / 0
Palmer was ineffective in the first half, as the Bengals again leaned heavily on the running game and his wide receivers again struggled to separate in the secondary. Palmer came alive in the game's final drive, benefiting from good protection and finding his wide receivers downfield for longer gains. The Bengals did attempt to get the ball downfield, trying three long passes to Andre Caldwell. Palmer underthrew two post routes, one of which was intercepted and overthrew a sideline route badly.
Week 17 vs. NYJ
Passing: 1 - 11, 0 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Palmer played only the first half against the Jets. His numbers were made worse by multiple drops by his wide receivers, a blown up screen pass and a route cut short by Andre Caldwell that ended in an interception. He overthrew Chad Ochocinco on a deep ball, but was accurate on the majority of his other passes.
Week 18 vs. NYJ
Passing: 18 - 36, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: 1 / 2 / 0
Carson Palmer returned to the playoffs for the first time since suffering a knee injury early in the 2006 playoff game vs. the Steelers, and he did nothing to exorcise those demons against the Jets. Palmer was off high many times early, leaving his receivers open to take huge shots. When he tried to go back shoulder to Chad Ochocinco, there was a miscommunication and Darrelle Revis was able to get an easy pick. Cedric Benson was most of the Bengals offense on a day that should haunt Palmer for the entire offseason.