The first quarter did not go very well for the Bengals on Sunday.
Andy Dalton threw two interceptions, one of which the Browns returned for a touchdown, and the Bengals punted three times as the Browns ran out to a 13-0 lead in Cincinnati. That led to a negative reaction from the fans at Paul Brown Stadium that resonated with defensive end Michael Johnson long after the Bengals scored 31 points in the second quarter on their way to a 41-20 victory.
“If you’re not believing and being positive, leave,” Johnson said, via ESPN.com. “We don’t need you. Because that’s what we’re about around here — staying focused, staying positive and keeping our energy going. Negativity breeds negativity, and we don’t do that around here.”
It’s probably not a coincidence that the boos were heaviest after Dalton’s interceptions as the October AFC offensive player of the month appeared to be continuing the drop in play that’s affected him all month. A banner asking for the real Dalton to stand up was unfurled in the stands, although the plea went unanswered as Dalton went 13-of-27 for 93 yards and three touchdowns to go with those two interceptions.
Bengals fans paid their money, so they’ve got the right to express their displeasure with the team’s play regardless of Johnson’s desires. Any expressions of disgust should be tempered by the fact that the Bengals lead the division by 2.5 games with five games left on their schedule. That’s a pretty nice place to be while waiting for your quarterback to find his way.