In a game that held the lowest attendance of the season for the Bengals, the team welcomed back a man that just one year ago refused to come back out and play for the team, even opting for retirement if he wasn’t traded. After spending eight years with the Bengals organization, Carson Palmer took the field once again in Paul Brown Stadium. This time, though, we was wearing silver and black and going against the team that gave him his NFL start.
During his tenure in Cincinnati, Palmer saw many ups and downs. He led the team to a couple of playoffs, he was a part of teams with losing records, and he lived through a barrage of injuries. Though, he wasn’t the best to ever play the game for the Bengals, the fans embraced him and defended him in the face of naysayers.
Then at the end of the 2010-11 season, the quarterback had enough of Cincinnati and was ready to move on. Feeling as though there were better options outside of the city that built him, Palmer demanded a trade or retirement would be his only option. His actions left many feeling like he was turning his back on the fans and the team that supported him through the peaks and valleys of the seven seasons that he started for the Bengals.
Now he was back on the Paul Brown Stadium turf for the first time since his departure. Unlike other away team quarterbacks, this one had left deep wounds just a year ago on those exact same fans that filled the stands on Sunday. And they were not ready to forgive him.
Beginning with the coin toss, every time that Carson Palmer took the field, rumbling boos could be heard all around the stadium. Many fans chanted “traitor” and others “quitter” as the quarterback would drop back to pass or stood with his team on the sidelines. There was a sign hanging from the third level of the stadium that stated, “Quitters Never Win.”
That sign became even more relevant after the third snap of the game for the Raiders ended in Geno Atkins sacking the quarterback. The play caused the stadium to erupt with joy, something that occurred every time Palmer was sacked or had a play that did not garner a first down. The fans were out for blood and their ex-quarterback was fitting prey.
The team backed up the fans, sacking Palmer twice in the first Oakland drive and a total of four times in the game. The defense only allowed the Raiders’ quarterback to throw for 146 yards throughout four quarters. He did manage one touchdown pass in the third quarter to Denarius Moore, but tossed an interception to former teammate Chris Crocker and fumbled a ball into the arms of Rey Maualuga.
Cincinnati’s 34-10 victory over Carson Palmer and the Raiders was very fitting. Palmer’s replacement, Andy Dalton, did something against Palmer’s Raiders that the ex-Bengals quarterback never could. He has led his team to a winning record in back to seasons and has Cincinnati poised for a playoff berth in two consecutive seasons. The blowout was also fulfilling for the fans. They were able to show the quarterback that quit on them just a year ago, that the grass really is greener…when Palmer is on the other side.