White leads Falcons to 39-32 victory over BengalsBy PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer Monday, Oct 25, 2010
Eleven catches for 201 yards was spectacular enough, but many of those plays were highlight-show material. There was a one-handed reception. And a juggling grab while falling into the end zone. And, finally, a mighty leap to come down with a 2-point conversion, which didn’t even count on his individual stats.
“I was highly motivated,” White said. “I had a chip on my shoulder, especially playing those guys. I know how good they’ve been over the years.”
With his team foundering, Ochocinco tried to fire up the Bengals—and needle the Falcons—by supposedly sending derogatory T-shirts to the Atlanta defensive backs.
Apparently, they were returned to sender.
Cincinnati (2-4) is heading in the wrong direction after winning the AFC North a year ago.
“My goal was to try to get this team to the playoffs,” Owens said. “Right now, I don’t know what we should be doing different.”
Not even big days from Ochocinco (10 catches, 108 yards) and Owens (nine catches, 88 yards) could overshadow White’s performance. In fact, neither was the Bengals’ top pass catcher—Jordan Shipley(notes) piled up 131 yards on six catches, including a 64-yard touchdown.
The Falcons squandered a 24-3 halftime lead, actually falling behind when Cincinnati took advantage of two turnovers and ripped off 22 straight points in the third quarter.
The Bengals scored one of their TDs when Adam “Pacman” Jones ripped the ball away from White and returned it for a touchdown. But that mistake didn’t even ruin White’s day. He bounced right back in the final period.
“I was upset,” White said. “I just wanted to go out there and have my quarterback keep throwing the ball my way.”
Matt Ryan(notes) did just that, and White hauled in his second touchdown of the day on an 11-yard pass to put the Falcons back in the lead, this time for good. On the 2-point conversion, Ryan had to scramble and finally just heaved the ball toward the end zone.
But White’s best catch of all came early on, when he hauled in a pass using only his right hand. His left arm was busy fending off Jones.
“That was a first,” White said.
Any other day, his top play would’ve been a 43-yard touchdown in which he beat two defenders and had the ball pop away as he was falling. He kept his concentration, grabbed it back before it hit the turf, and tumbled across the goal line.
Ryan had his best game of the season, completing 24 of 33 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Turner(notes) had a pair of TD runs—after scoring only once in the first six games—and finished with 121 yards on 23 carries.
Both were overshadowed by White, just like everyone else.
“That’s one of the greatest games I’ve seen him play,” Turner said. “That’s just the play-making ability he has. It can show up anytime, against anybody.”
Owens was at the center of perhaps the game’s biggest play about midway through the fourth quarter. Breaking into the clear, he made a twisting catch at the 5 and dived for the end zone. But in his haste to score, T.O.’s left foot caught the sideline and his effort—which would have put Cincinnati in position for the tying TD—was ruled incomplete.
“At some point, we have to have a lot of pride like we did in the second half,” said Owens, who became just the fifth player in NFL history with 150 touchdowns when he hauled in a 19-yard scoring pass from Carson Palmer(notes). “Surely we can be the team everyone expected us to be.”
Palmer probably had a sore arm when he was done. The Bengals quarterback completed 36 of 50 attempts for 412 yards and three TDs.
It wasn’t enough.