[08/2008: DebLite update on Ethan Kilmer here.]
Everyone has their favorite Bengal. Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Rudy Johnson and Shayne Graham top the list of the most pupular players. Hometown favorites also include Tory James, Kevin Kaesvehorn, Justin Smith, Willie Gaethers and Chris Henry (wild child or no, he's ours and he's good).
Some teams have only one or two standout players. The Bengals have a roster full of stellar players and although the offense produces, our defense, God love 'em, makes us want to tear out our hair at times.
And then along comes a guy, who not only picks off the ball but scores and even though the number on the jersey was clear you could hear the announcers trying to cover while they scrambled for the roster and everyone at home asked, "Who is that?"
Meet Ethan Kilmer, #43, who made his mark Sunday and no one will ever forget it. A rookie hailing from Penn State who didn't even start out as a football player no less. And here he is making his first NFL touchdown and rocking the casbah by bringing the Bengals Back to the winning side of the game. Before all the crowds left the stadium his Wikipedia page had been updated to include his accomplishment today.
Housh, Carson, Rudi joined in as all the Bengals congratulated Kilmer. Chad offered him a sip of a sports bottle and slapped him heartily on the back. Marvin Lewis grinning from ear to ear walked over and said a word. It's been a long time since I've seen a moment of pure joy on the Bengal's sideline and today Kilmer put a smile on everyone's face.
Our defense has worked hard, I know, but they were holding on by their fingernails in those first four games we won. Since then, we've lost so many players on defense to injury that everyone's been wondering if we'll ever have a solid defense again. Well fear not, because if the rest of the rookies are anything like Ethan Kilmer then we know exacty where to find the best defensive players.
On the Bengals Bench.
That's where Ethan Kilmer was until today but I have an inkling that today was Kilmer's Any Given Sunday. And if this guy was a gem hidden on the Bengals Treasure Bench then who else praytell is Marvin Lewis holding on to?
Naufahu Tahi, not seen since the Bengals long forgotten promising pre-season is languishing on the practice squad. However those of us who watched the games like a hawk and predicted cuts with precision new that Tahi would be around for a while after watching him drag three huge players for about 15 yards before they stopped him. Yes, stopped him. They were able to stop him but they never brought him down.
I seem to also remember Eric Henderson making quite a sack in the preseason and his Bengals roster page shows my memory is correct. What it actually says is, "...Played in all four preseason games, recording 5 total tackles, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble." Sounds like a man who can get things done.
Now I'm just a girl with a passing interest in the game, so I'm not even going to pretend to be an expert or even the ultimate sports nut.
I'm just damn proud of Ethan Kilmer and all our guys who made it happen today. I was proud of them through the games they lost the past few weeks as well. They played some fine ball but hey, turf happens.
However with players like Kilmer waiting in the wings, maybe there's hope for this season yet.