The Bengals are not going away

Reuters

A lot of preseason power rankings suggested the Bengals might be the worst team in football.  We heard the term “0-16” mentioned once because of the team’s perceived lack of talent.

Instead, the Bengals are heading into November on a four-game winning streak at 5-2. They are one of the best stories in the NFL.

Cincinnati beat Seattle 34-12 Sunday in a game that was still in doubt with under five minutes remaining.  The game was typical in many ways for this year’s Bengals team: The final result was greater than the sum of its parts.

The Bengals defense chased Charlie Whitehurst from the game early. They gave up a lot of yards to Tarvaris Jackson, but made the key stop or forced a turnover when they needed to.

Cincinnati sacked Seattle 4 times, had seven tackles for loss, and hit Seattle quarterbacks 12 times. A long punt return from Pacman Jones set up the team’s first touchdown, and Brandon Tate took a punt return back for a score to put the game out of reach late.

The offense didn’t do a lot, but Bernard Scott ran for 76 yards and A.J. Green had 63 yards and a touchdown.

Sure, the Bengals haven’t exactly beaten the league’s best. Their five wins are against the Browns, Bills, Jaguars, Colts, and Seahawks. That’s not the point.

This was a franchise expected to be a pushover this year. This was a team that usually wouldn’t win in in a place like Seattle when Carson Palmer was running the show. (This was their first win on the West Coast since 2003.)

The Bengals are 5-2 and have a winnable game against the Titans next week. They have a rookie quarterback, a rookie star at wide receiver, and a rookie offensive coordinator.

They will be playing meaningful games with playoff implications deep into December. That’s a win for the 2011 season, no matter what happens from here.

53 responses to “The Bengals are not going away

  1. Newton has been better than expected, but I still give the edge to Dalton.

    A good deal of Newton’s yardage is coming in the 4th when teams with the big lead drop into soft cover 4.

  2. Congrats to the Bengals, but let’s see where they are after playing the Ravens and Steelers…

  3. 2011 Cincinatti Bengals = 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Coming from a Bucs fan, the Bengals are capitalizing off of a generous schedule. They are a decent team with a very bright future (even more so considering they robbed the Raiders a few weeks ago), but they’re not a threat in 2011.

  4. WHO DEY!!!!

    Boomer Esiasin is eating his words right now. Right before the first game he said “Welcome Andrew Luck to the dysfunctional family of the Bengals” where you at now boom? where you at now?

  5. Marvin Lewis loves to keep the games close. For whatever reason, the Bengals never try to put teams away. The team continues to win despite Marvin Lewis’ conservative mindset. They have been in every single game until the last minute, and lucky for them they have actually won 5 out of 7 tries.

    They replace Marvin with just about anyone else (excluding Jim Caldwell aka Marvin Lewis 2.0), they are 7-0 right now. Fact.

  6. They beat the 49ers and bills, but my prediction is they will fold when they have to face the ravens twice the steelers twice and the texans.

    But they have a hell of good looking future with all their acquired draft picks.

  7. The teams they have beaten are the Browns, the Bills, the Jaguars, the Colts and now the Seahawks. Not exactly a tough schedule. The only noteworthy win on their is Buffalo.

    Their 4 games vs. the Ravens and the Steelers will determine whether they are good or a product of an easy schedule.

  8. I like this team for the future, especially after all those picks Oakland gave (yes, GAVE) them. But, I don’t see them hanging with Pitt and Balt this year in the long run.

  9. @baltimoreballs

    They lost to the 49ers and the Broncos. Both games they should have won, but gave away both games at the end. The Bengals are one or two plays away from being 7-0. Sure it hasn’t been pretty with all of the inexperience, but they are winning games that the Bengals of old (i.e. Carson and Chad) would have lost. Gotta give this team a lot of credit. Congrats Bengals! Keep it up

  10. look who they’ve beaten…..the Bills are 5-2 and have wins against Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Raiders, and the resurgent Chiefs. Two things, one beating the Bills is impressive and two the Bengals are good.

  11. @ yankees2009

    You are sort of giving Lewis a compliment. Well-coached teams find way to win close games. And Lewis and the Bengals have won 5 of 7 close games. If you are going to bash him for the 2 close games they lost, give him credit for the 5 close games they won.

    Give the man credit where credit is due.

  12. “footballfan15 says: Oct 30, 2011 7:48 PM

    Congrats to the Bengals, but let’s see where they are after playing the Ravens and Steelers…”

    You obviously don’t know the history of Bengals games between the Steelers and Ravens. I am a long time Bengals fan and normally they would have lost one of the close ones on a fluke, lost on the Left Coast tonight after the bye and at Tennessee. They’ll give the Steelers and Ravens all they can handle. Realistically, this is a very good Defense who’s only issue is that it takes a series off occasionally and and offense that is improving week in, week out. I am not a dreamer, but these guys don’t know the history…don’t know they are supposed to lose…it’s absolutely fascinating to watch for me! Barring injuries, this team could win the division…and the closer that gets the better they will get. Youth and confidence are usually divergent qualities…if in this case they are not, things could get very interesting!

    Mark it up…they should win @ Tennessee

  13. Amazing.. they’ve done with without a over the hill Carson Palmer and a “Look at me tweet” Ochocinco.. not to mention a past his prime Possession receiver currently holding televised workouts.

    I guess when Marvin won his offseason battle this meant good things..

  14. I can’t really give Lewis much credit because the Bengals should be keeping the pedal to the metal for the WHOLE GAME. Blow the teams away early when you have the chance and these games won’t be in doubt until the final minute. For whatever reason Marvin loves to toy with his prey, he never goes for the throat and it’s frustrating to watch.

    Sure they find ways to win, but I still believe they are winning in spite of Lewis, not because of him.

  15. As a Ravens fan, I can’t say I’m too proud to have said Dalton would be the best rookie QB this year when they drafted him. Kid is looking good so far this year, and Zimmer has that defense playing well as usual. I thought the Bengals would be solid this year, around 8-8 maybe 9-7 but its looking like this is gonna be a crazy 3 horse race in the AFC North.

  16. baltimoreballs says: Oct 30, 2011 7:57 PM

    They beat the 49ers and bills, but my prediction is they will fold when they have to face the ravens twice the steelers twice and the texans.

    But they have a hell of good looking future with all their acquired draft picks.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    SF 13 CIN 8
    Don’t exactly see where they beat the 49ers bud. On the other hand and in all honesty, they are playing a lot more consistent than Baltimore which gives them a pretty good chance

  17. Bengals are good enough to compete with most teams. They have promising young players and are well coached. Not sure they will be consistent enough to compete with Pittsburgh and Baltimore for the entire season, but it’s nice to see them “surprise” the experts.

  18. How about the fact the Bengals today went on the road, out west, to one of the loudest NFL stadiums, and won the game without Rey Maualuga, Cedric Benson, and Jermaine Gresham.

    The “weak” schedule is an overrated thing. You play who you play.

    I don’t hear anyone saying that about the Steelers. They beat the Pats, Bengals beat the bills. Who else have the Steelers beat? The Ravens drilled them. Bengals have lost 2 games by 6 points.

    Why isn’t that argument being used against them?

    Oh.. cause they are the Steelers and we are the Bengals. I get it now.

  19. i parlayed the following 4 games; ties being games
    that finish within 3 points either way:
    gia/ mia tie: hit
    bal/ ari tie: hit
    car/ min tie hit
    cin/ sea tie lol missed that was the one i thought was the most sure thing of those games. the nfl is a fickle mistress to say the least

  20. I know my Steelers have spent the entire season thinking about their rematch with Baltimore next weekend. And right now, that’s the game of the year for us. But both Pittsburgh and Baltimore need to be thinking about the Bengals. Remember 2009.

  21. Steelers are going to win the division but the Bengals will give the Ravens all they can handle for a Wild-Card spot.

    I do have an issue with the pass defense today. Too many long plays given up.

  22. pitt beat indy 23-20 benagls beat indy 27-17
    pitt beat jax 17-13 ravens lost to jax and bengals beat jax 30-20. So in games where we played the same teams the bengals have played better than both pitt and balt yet they are “dominant teams” and we have a weak schedule and got lucky. doesnt make sense to me. seems to me that the bengals are legit and the rest of the afcn better watch out cause we are just as good if not better than them.

  23. trbowman says: Oct 30, 2011 7:45 PM

    Playoffs?

    Andy Dalton for rookie of the year right now.
    =================================

    Dalton was my favorite QB in the draft this year and he’s playing extremely well. But Newton’s sheer productivity is overwhelming. I think (admittedly having played only half the season) that so far he’s the easiest ROY pick in ages.

  24. andy dalton is by no means a bad or sanchez-like overrated qb. hell, he’s maybe already better than carson palmer in his glory days (not sure what that amounts to). and you can say he’s the best rookie qb this year. but Cincinnati is here on planet earth believe it or not. the ROTY is cam. you know, the guy that is shattering all the records, playing on a bad team, maybe worst team in the nfl. the comparison is retarded; and suggesting dalton over newton is infantile…

  25. They are a average team. Their schedule is a joke. They play the Steelers and Ravens twice and a game at home with the Texans. 1-4 during that span.

    The other teams they play are the Titans, Rams, Browns and cards. 3-1

    9-7 and they have a shot at the playlets

  26. The key point is that the Bengals were supposed to be padding other teams schedules, not winning games like this. As a Cincinnati fan, a lot of the games have been mindnumbing to watch, as the offense has had its growing pains. But at the end of the day, there is reason for optimism. This wasnt supposed to be a year we competed, so anything the rest of the way is just gravy. Its exciting to think about where this team could be in a few years.

    Its easy to say they’ve played Balt and Pitt tough in the past, but you cant say that and also make the argument that this team is different than the past. The reason Cincinnati fans are getting excited is because this team is NOTHING like the past. We dont know what will happen, but finally there is something to be optimistic about… for the first time since the start of ’06. AFCN games are always exciting, and I am sure we can expect at least that in the coming weeks. Who Dey!

  27. @yankees2009 says: Oct 30, 2011 7:55 PM

    Marvin Lewis loves to keep the games close. For whatever reason, the Bengals never try to put teams away. The team continues to win despite Marvin Lewis’ conservative mindset. They have been in every single game until the last minute, and lucky for them they have actually won 5 out of 7 tries.

    They replace Marvin with just about anyone else (excluding Jim Caldwell aka Marvin Lewis 2.0), they are 7-0 right now. Fact.

    I’d say the offensive coordinator has alot of the blame there. Marvin doesn’t call the plays. I agree with you but i dont think Marvin is the problem

  28. The Bengals’ schedule is pretty tough from this point on. They’ve still got all their games against the Ravens and Steelers, plus matchups with the Texans and Titans. If they beat Cleveland, St. Louis, and Arizona, that gives them eight wins. I really doubt they’ll sweep the Browns, Rams, and Cardinals and then take two of the previous six I mentioned. They’ll probably end up 8-8, which most of us would have considered a minor miracle before they season started.

  29. You all know anything is possible in any given divisional game. Marvin I’m sure of has no shortage of ideas on how to address Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

    The new ball control offense that lets Marvin play his favored field position Parcells concept is exactly how he wants it & playing to bend/contain reeaallly slowly & hunt the turnovers.

    Brat & Palmer needed Indy’s “defense from ahead” approach & that was a horrible fit for how Lewis wants to manage a game. Now they mesh.

    On that tuck play today, 9 would have turned & just winged straight for the spying without even looking for the DB. Then try to envision Palmer chasing it down after like it was a fumble. Palmer was a fumble factory. Conversely, Dalton tackles & blocks like a ninja. He actually flipped a guy on a TD-saving tackle at the 5 after his INT vs Jacksonville.

    Aaaah, My Precious Tissue Paper Tigers. They had my analytical projections for the 4-0 start realistically in the grasp … also don’t want to overlook special teams is also lookin’ real strong a lot of the time too!

    Given new scheme/QB/WR the playbook is not nearly as large at it will be. I still think Dalton needs his own interpretation of the Jeff Blake downfield moonball.

  30. Usually by now the Bengals have played either the Ravens or Steelers, or both at least once. But this year we have all four games scheduled between week 10 and week 17. So those weeks will be the biggest test of this team.

  31. trbowman says: Oct 30, 2011 7:47 PM

    Newton has been better than expected, but I still give the edge to Dalton.

    A good deal of Newton’s yardage is coming in the 4th when teams with the big lead drop into soft cover 4.

    What Carolina game did you watch?They have never been down by more than 14 in any game and that was late in the Green Bay game.

  32. Don’t tell ESPN yet, they still don’t know that the Bengals play in the NFL..
    Cam is on every two seconds, the rookie qb that keeps making plays to give his team a win, is pretty much ignored by ESPN..
    I guess wins don’t matter.

  33. As a Baltimore fan, no team scares me more than the Bengals at this point in time, because we have to play them twice still. Not even the Burg of the Pitts is as worrisome — the worst the Ravens can do in the regular season against the pitts is 1-1, but I could see the Ravens going 0-2 against the Bengals.

    People outside the AFC North don’t realize how tough teams are in this division, even when they have down years. Bengals and Browns *always* play the Steelers and Ravens tough, and vice versa. Yes, these games will be a good barometer for the Bengals, but also for Pitt and Baltimore.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Cincy add some L’s to the loss column of both the Ravens and Steelers.

  34. Has the schedule changed since everybody predicted 0-16 for the Bengals? Sure don’t see many Bengal Bashers admitting that they had it wrong. Realistically Cincinnati won’t get credit until they finish thier division games. Jan. 1 game against the Ravens is shaping up to be the best game of the year.

  35. @1fast84

    If the play-calling formula I saw on Hard Knocks a few years ago is still the same, then Marvin is the one who decides on the type of playcall (run or pass… “I want to see three runs here, Brat”) and the OC calls the actual play (run up the middle, toss left, inside handoff, etc.). I’m still not a fan of the way Marvin manages the game. I’ve never been a fan of the conservative “play-not-to-lose” approach.

    And to all you saying the Bengals are only beating bad teams… I don’t see your point. Aren’t good teams supposed to beat up on inferior teams? When a team like the Steelers beats a supposedly bad team, they get all the credit in the world because they are an “elite” team and beat “a team who they were supposed to beat.” Yet when the Bengals do it, it’s “so what, they beat a crappy team.” Ok, so the Bengals are beating crappy teams… so that somehow makes the Bengals a… crappy team? Really now…

  36. Hey pittspuke…… We’ve beaten the same sorry teams the steelers have so shut up!!!! See you punks Nov 13

  37. I said from the jump that this team could have a Matt Ryan falcons type year. Defense full of high round picks, deep bench, underrated o line, solid young skill position guys. This may be the healthiest team in the league, coupled with growing confidence, why can’t this team win the north? Baltimore is the same old Baltimore, which means score 13 points, don’t turn the ball over and don’t let special teams beat u and you will win. Pittsburgh? Can’t run the ball. We have the secondary to contain their passing game and enough outside speed to beat their weak secondary. Add the fact that Dalton is extremely mobile, and we should be able to at very least split with Pitt. Ultimately I will be surprised if we don’t win 11 games.

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