The old adage, you’ve got to crawl before you ball, has never been truer than in regards to the Cincinnati Bengals. After their preseason buzz, it’s easy to forget that this is a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 22 years. We’re not going to crown them yet, but after eons of dysfunction, they’ve finally put together a roster worth the time to consider. After beating up a deflated Pittsburgh squad last week, on Sunday they scored a comeback win against the vaunted Green Bay Packers.
Well maybe not a comeback, since they rushed out to a 14-point lead only to surrender 30 unanswered to the Pack, but a damn good win. The old Bengals, and by that I mean, any team from say ’91 to 2010, would have folded like a raggedy dinner tray. Instead of just accepting the loss, they fought and squeezed out a 34-30 win. To secure the win, their defense had to make a play and really, I’m assuming coach Marvin Lewis wouldn’t want it any other way. On 4th down, with seconds remaining and Green Bay on the 20-yard line, Aaron Rodgers tossed a pass and got his ball batted by 6’7 defensive end Michael Johnson.
The Bengals have, on the low, put together a top 5 D on the strength on what is arguably the best defensive front in the game. Outside of Johnson there’s LB Vontaze Burfict, DE Carlos Dunlap and tackle Domato Peko. Not to mention the other tackle, nastier than a foreign porno, Geno Atkins.
Each of them is capable of making a play, even several if necessary, to secure a win. They are still on the come-up, not quite fully seasoned yet, but what they've got cooking is starting to resemble a full plate. Best thing is, they’re all relatively young, and able to carry what is still an inconsistent offense. Now, I’d be remiss, if I didn’t mention all the injuries the Packers had in the game. GB went through a whole bevy of RBs, certainly compromising their continuity on their offense. However, it may not have mattered. Green Bay still had a shot at the end and couldn’t get it done. Now sitting at 2-1 and Cleveland coming up on the schedule, Cincy is poised to settle into prime real estate on top of the AFC North. In years past, you could hit them with the shoulder shrug, but as mentioned in TSL’s Season Preview, these aren’t your estranged father’s Bengals. They’re here for the duration, so at some point you better get familiar.