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.