What was that, Terry? You were saying something along the lines of the Bengals beating Pittsburgh at home is akin to you winning a fight against Howie Long, right? Well, from the looks of it, you’d whip Howie up and down the field with great special teams and exceptional defense. And therein lies the beauty of guarantees in the world of sports. If you get it right, you look like a guru or a pundit.
If you don’t, you look much like Bradshaw does here: a buffoon.
For those of you who like to make season-opening wagers — you know, when the odds have been set according to last season’s results — and put money on the Bengals, your bet is looking smarter and smarter every week. Did I just call the Bengals a Super Bowl team? Not quite. In fact, as a fan, I don’t even want to hear those words, but with less than half the season remaining, you have to like their chances at making a strong finish.
How strong? That, my friends, will be determined by how well the Bengals defense continues to play.
The Cincinnati Bengals are 4-1. I’ll let that number sink in for a second. Meanwhile, teams like the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers are 3-2. Hell, the Tennessee Titans are 0-4 even though they are coming off a 13-3 season, while the NFC West is a currently led by a team with a 3-2 record.
A quick show of hands: Who, when the season was getting ready to start, would’ve thought the Bengals would have better records than the defending Super Bowl champs (a team the Bengals have already beaten), the Tom Brady-led Patriots, the Titans, who are coming off a 13-3 2008 season and the NFC West division leaders? Yeah, you with your hand up? Go ahead and put it back down because no one thought the Bengals would be in such a position; no matter how many episodes of Hard Knocks you watched, no matter how much you follow Ochocinco’s crazy Twitter stream.
Before the season started, no one would’ve ever guessed the Bengals would be one crazy-ass Brandon Stokley play away from being undefeated; I don’t care how much you say you did because it’s not true.
One of the reasons the Bengals are where they are has to do with the emergence of Andre Caldwell as a dangerous option for Carson Palmer. The Florida Gators star has quickly cemented himself along side the Chad Ochocincos and Chris Henrys of the world, and his contributions — as seen in the lead video — do not need to be discounted. Lest we forget, this is Caldwell’s second game-winning touchdown catch; his first one being against the Steelers. This means, not only is Caldwell a legitimate threat in the Bengals offense, he also saves his dramatic finishes for conference foes, making his contributions all the more impressive.
It’s one thing to score the winning touchdown against a non-conference foe in middle-of-the-season game no one is watching. But to do it against teams in the same conference, teams that are considered superior to the Bengals, is absolutely huge.
Oh yeah, the Cincinnati Bengals are for real. Just ask the Baltimore Ravens. Ask them about Cedric Benson or Andre Caldwell. While you are at it, ask Ray Lewis whether trying to take Chad Ochocinco’s head off is worth a 15-yard penalty, one that undoubtedly helped the Bengals on their game-winning drive. While the play looked cool and pretty vicious, it didn’t help the Ravens or their cause whatsoever.
The coach everyone in the Cleveland area loves to hate, Eric Mangini, has named Derek Anderson has his starter for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The question is, is this the end of Brady Quinn’s career in Cleveland or is Mangini simply going to install a turnstile at the quarterback position? Considering Quinn is ranked 30th out of 33 starting quarterbacks, it doesn’t look good. Another stat not helping Quinn’s chances is his paltry 5.8 yard per completion. As a contrast, the top two rated quarterbacks this season — Drew Brees and Peyton Manning — average 8.7 and 10.2 YPC respectively.
Quinn’s 1-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio isn’t setting the world on fire either. Granted, Anderson had three picks against Baltimore last Sunday, so neither quarterback are inspiring a great deal of fan confidence. Is Cleveland’s 2009 season already a wash?
Is it time to blow it up and start over, especially at the quarterback position?
Once considered an embarrassing bust by the Chicago Bears, it’s certainly seems as if Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson has completely and thoroughly rejuvenated his career in the Queen City. The question is, is it safe for Bengals fans to believe in Benson or will he relapse to the form and poor choices that doomed his stay with the Bears? While the jury is still out, here are some reasons to to believe:
Despite being the catalyst for an NFL rule change, courtesy of the play in the lead video, Hines Ward has no need for your stinking rules. Because the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, one of the bigger topics of discussion had to with the hit Ward laid on Keith Rivers last season. The hit was so violent, Rivers missed the rest of the season with a broken jaw. Whether or not the play was dirty — it does look like Ward led with his helmet — is not the issue here. The fact is, the NFL outlawed these types of plays, courtesy of Ward’s hit on Rivers.
And now that these two teams are having the first of their yearly double-dip, everybody’s asking about the hit, to which Ward replied:
“I’ll still hit him. I’ll just get fined. There’s nothing I can do about it. It’s either that or try to hurt somebody. So are you going to fine me, or do you want me to end someone’s career? I’d rather take a fine than try to end somebody’s career, so I’m not going to change.”
Ward goes on to say his only options are to hit the player high, going for the same area he used to crush Rivers, or go for his knees. Evidently, the anatomy classes at Georgia aren’t quite as comprehensive as other schools.
I’m curious: If you violate a rule that’s been named for you and the play leading this post, is the subsequent fine going to be more than it normally would? What, exactly, happens if Murphy violates Murphy’s Law?
Mike Brown and company make it too easy on the rest of us. If you don’t want to your public image to suggest you foster a breeding ground for unruly players to thrive in, perhaps you should stay away from players who have legal baggage attached to them — regardless if you need tight ends or not. Meet Kolo Kapanui, one of two tight ends the Bengals brought into camp after injuries to Reggie Kelly and Ben Utecht. Kapanui was recently released from the New Orleans Saints because he and another player got themselves into a legal predicament.
As Chad Ocho Johnson Cinco embraces the social media craze — Twitter and Ustream are his “drugs” of choice — he’s brought an older catchphrase back into our everyday vernacular: Child, please. These two words pretty much permeate throughout Chad’s current Internet existence. Take these examples… for example: