Mike Hilton: People think 2021 was a fluke, but we’re confident in each other

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Las Vegas Raiders v Cincinnati Bengals
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The Bengals are the current defending AFC champions. But they’re beginning 2022 with an underdog mentality.

Whether it’s a straw man or not, Cincinnati cornerback Mike Hilton essentially said the team is operating as if most who aren’t in the building believe what happened in 2021 is unsustainable.

“Lot of people outside [the] organization think last year was a fluke. But we are confident in each other,” Hilton said, via Paul Dehner Jr. of TheAthletic.com. “People still didn’t believe it throughout the whole playoff run. When people call it a fluke, we just smile.”

Hilton added, via Ben Baby of ESPN, that people might think 2021 was a fluke, “Because it’s the Bengals.”

Historically, it’s tough for any team that loses the Super Bowl to be back in it the next year. The 2018 Patriots are one of the few examples in recent memory that’s lost the final game of the season one year and won it the next.

Still, with Joe Burrow at quarterback, Ja'Marr Chase leading the way at receiver, an improved offensive line, and another year of growth on defense, it’s easy to see how the Bengals could finish at the top of the AFC North in 2022. If the team gains some motivation and competitive edge from a perception that folks don’t think they’re good enough, so be it.

12 responses to “Mike Hilton: People think 2021 was a fluke, but we’re confident in each other

  1. It wasn’t a fluke. But let’s face it, if Tannehill doesn’t melt down, they don’t get past the first round never mind get to the SB. And they barely won’t he division in spite of a soft schedule and one of the healthiest rosters in the league. They will be a contender, but no one should be surprised if it doesn’t come as easily as it did last year for them.

  2. Wasn’t a fluke but will be tougher for you. Luck, health, hot at the right time, etc, aren’t all gimmes.

  3. the ball sure bounce there way .. as they say better to be lucky than good..

  4. They have a well balanced team… That will always play. Getting back to the Super Bowl is no easy task (especially in the loaded AFC), but I definitely expect them to be in the playoffs and they’ll be a tough out once they get there.

  5. Yup, if only Carr hadn’t melted down and thrown a pick the Raiders would have won. If only Tannehill hadn’t melted down and thrown a pick, the Titans would have won. If only Mahomes wouldn’t have melted down and thrown a pick the Chiefs would have won. I sense a theme here, and it isn’t about QBs melting down…

  6. If you wreck the Chiefs in their house, you ain’t no fluke!

  7. 1. They got a ton of talent.
    2. They really aggressively addressed the weaknesses of the team O-line and dept in the defensive backfield.
    3. Joe Brrr…

    A superbowl return would not be shocking, but it always takes a little luck and staying healthy.

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