Cincinnati Bengals fans who watched Carson Palmer's debut as an Oakland Raider yesterday saw some familiar sites. We saw Palmer and a receiver wearing number 85 not on the same page. We saw Palmer throw multiple interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. We saw Palmer's team lose to a team they were favored to defeat.
All told, Palmer's day was pretty horrid. He just eight of 21 passes for 116 yards and threw three picks in just one half of action. If Oakland fans, who began cheering when Palmer donned a helmet and started warming up in the third quarter, thought Palmer was going to be their savior, they were quickly disabused of that illusion.
Oakland fans were cheering because they had just witnessed starter Kyle Boller go seven of 14 for only 61 yards in a half and throw three picks. His first pass of the day was returned by Kansas City for a touchdown. Yes, Palmer had only been with the team for three days, but it couldn't get any worse, right?
It did. Palmer completed his first pass to Darius Heyward-Bey even while being "Kimo'd" by Chief's linebacker Tamba Hali, which drew a 15 yard flag. The Raiders were quickly in Chief's territory and it looked like Palmer was going to have a storybook beginning to his new Oakland career. Palmer finished the day with a quarterback rating of 17.3, actually worse than Boller's.
Palmer now has a bye week and two weeks to prepare for the Raiders' next opponent, the Denver Broncos. Certainly, Palmer will improve. How can he not? But Cincinnati fans had to be enjoying just a little bit of schadenfreude watching their former franchise quarterback who abruptly abandoned his post struggle so mightily.
Sunday confirmed that whatever happens to Palmer in Oakland, the Bengals came out the big winners in his power play. Without Palmer's "retirement," the Bengals probably don't draft Andy Dalton and certainly don't have the extra draft picks they acquired in the deal with Oakland that can solidify a rapidly improving team.
So sorry, Oakland fans. Enjoy Carson Palmer. Enjoy moments where he threads the needle or throws a deep ball that conjures up memories of your other great number 3, Daryl Lamonica. But also enjoy the inexplicable bad reads and that blank stare on the sidelines after one of those throws. We Bengals will promise you, with Carson Palmer at quarterback, it won't be dull.
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