Category Archives: Bengals

We All Had Horrible Childhoods: On this day in 1989 you went to bed sad.

During the strike-shortened 1987 season, quarterback Boomer Esiason and head coach Sam Wyche had openly feuded, and the team finished with a miserable 4–11 record.  In 1988, both returned and the Bengals would win 12 and lose 4, capturing the AFC Central title.

In the playoffs, the Bengals went on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks 21–13, and the Buffalo Bills 21–10.  Ickey Woods was the key contributor in both wins, rushing for a combined total of 228 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cincinnati’s 17th-ranked defense during the season made major improvements in the playoffs and held their opponents to a combined total of 23 points while hauling in 5 interceptions.

Despite the Bengals’ superior regular season record and quarterback Boomer Esiason’s MVP award, the 49ers were heavily favored to win the Super Bowl, mainly because of their quarterback, Joe Montana. Montana had already led the 49ers to two previous Super Bowls and both times left with a championship ring and the Super Bowl MVP honors. Boomer was also suffering from a sore left (throwing) shoulder, although the Bengals tried to keep it under wraps and made up for a lack of big-play passing attack with a run-heavy offense led by Woods and Brooks against their first two playoff opponents, Seattle and Buffalo.

On the eve of Super Bowl XXIII, Bengals running back Stanley Wilson told several teammates that he needed to get his playbook before their last meeting prior to the game. Twenty minutes later, his position coach, Jim Anderson, found him in a bathroom, deep in the throes of a cocaine high. The Bengals had no choice but to leave Wilson off the roster. Wilson’s relapse was his third offense under the NFL’s drug policy, and he was banned from the league for life.

Then on this date in 1989… well this is how that night ended:

First, there was this:

Then a few series later came this:

I will leave it at that.

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Andy Dalton Is Not Clutch In The Post Season: In Case You Need Proof

We are big fans of Nate Silver and the work he does at fivethirtyeight.com.  Recently, Silver wrote an article that showed that “The Most Clutch Postseason Quarterback of All Time Is Eli Manning”.  Silver’s analysis incorporated something called “Elo ratings“, a simple but interesting system developed by physicist Arpad Elo to rate chess players.  Naturally, as a fan stuck in the land of the one and out Bengals, I was curious about how Andy Dalton stacked up on the all time list.  Dalton falls about where you would probably expect him to fall on the list; dead last among all active quarterbacks and number 179 out of 180.

The chart below basically says that Andy Dalton should have won at least one and probably two of his four playoff games.  The chart contains every quarterback that was active in this year’s playoffs; and every quarterback that had been the principal (primary) quarterback in at least 10 postseason games since 1970.

silver-qbs-table-2

Answers? I want Answers: Bengals Draft Needs 2015

“You can’t handle the truth.” ~ Col. Jessup

The Bengals have the 21st pick in the 2015 draft.

Quarterback

Andy Dalton will be the Bengals starting quarterback in 2015 barring injury, kidnaping, or retirement.  Dalton is a slightly below average quarterback.  His Rate+ for the past four seasons has been 94, 103, 103, and 94 (100 is average).  In 2014, Dalton passed 105 fewer times than he did in 2013.  He also was the 15th highest paid quarterback in the NFL in 2014.  The top 8 highest paid QB’s had cap hits twice that of Dalton’s measly $9 million. Next season, Dalton will drop to 18th highest paid at $9.6 mil.  But in 2016, his cap hit will be over $13 million.

The good news is that Carson Palmer will still make more money than Dalton in 2016 and Tony Romo will be paid over $27 million in 2015.  Dalton has been a pretty good bargain up to this point.  Having a good quarterback is important but would you want to be paying Joe Flacco over $28 million in 2016?  He does have a Super Bowl win.

This means the Bengals are not likely going to draft a quarterback of any significance.  From the Bengals perspective Dalton has been a pretty good investment.  There is also AJ McCarron who likely slips into the backup spot next year. McCarron was drafted because he is an affordable option that can do what Dalton can do or come very close.

Running Back

The Bengals will probably draft a running back in the middle rounds.  They let James Wilder Jr. go and will be looking for someone who can take the wear and tear off of Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernanrd.  I was never a fan of Wilder, although I saw him play in both high school and college. He may have been a problem off the field.  There will be plenty of Jeremy Hill backups to choose from in this year’s draft.

Wide Receiver

The Bengals top three returning wide receivers, A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, and Marvin Jones will be in the final year of their contracts.  The Bengals are probably going to be looking for a receiver early in the draft.   By pick 21, Amari Cooper will be gone; but in the second round, maybe they get someone like Auburn’s Sammy Coates (who lit up Alabama for 200 yards).  Either way, I think the Bengals take a receiver in the first three rounds.

Tight End

I think the Bengals will let Gresham walk unless he just has a big cheerleader in the front office somewhere that is advocating for him to be resigned.  That means they will be looking for someone to play with Tyler Eifert. Unfortunately, it is a thin tight end draft class.  Nobody should ever reach for a tight end and when things are thin, that is the risk.  Nick O’leary from Florida State could be a nice surprise but he could be gone before the Bengals think he is worth drafting.

Offensive Line

Andre Smith is entering the final year of his contract.  Andrew Whitworth is getting old.  The Bengals have so many decisions to make on draft day and that’s the conundrum teams that aren’t in rebuilding mode fine themselves.  Offensive tackle will be high on the Bengals draft list as they have no other choice.  I would not be surprised if they took an O-lineman in the first two rounds.

Defensive End

No way the Bengals spend an early pick on a defensive end unless there is someone they think is an immediate game changer.  That game changer is likely not out there.  They have two other young defensive ends in Margus Hunt and Will Clarke.  The Bengals are too practical lately to give up on their two previous draft picks when they have real depth problems elsewhere.  If they think a Shane Ray or somebody can start and be a stud in the NFL in 2015, they may take go that route; but I think this is a position they let slide to a later round.

Defensive Tackle

Despite Guenther’s comments about Atkins this week, Gino and Petko are going to be starting for the Bengals again in 2015.  They also have Brandon Thompson and maybe Devon Still can have a more focused offseason.  The Bengals will be looking for value later in the draft at DT.

Linebacker

Without Burfict, the Bengals are sorry at linebacker.  Maualuga is an unrestricted free agent that the Bengals could probably sign.  However, Burfict’s health is unknown.  I think if there is stud linebacker available at the 21st pick the Bengals go for it.  Marvin loves a good linebacker and I can’t believe he was happy with their play this season.  Burfict’s health will play a huge role in how the Bengals look at linebacker on draft day.

Defensive Back

The Bengals have 5 first round draft picks in their secondary supply.  Dennard will likely move into a starting role and Kirkpatrick will be playing for a big contract.  The Bengals will be looking for value and depth but not likely to take anyone early.

Summary

Although the Bengals took a step back on defense this season, I don’t think they really believe they are hurting at the defensive line.  The injury Atkins had to endure probably takes two seasons to get back to previous levels.  I look for the Bengals to go heavy on offense.  They are stuck with Dalton because he is too good to look elsewhere and too bad to not fix what is wrong around him.  Wide receiver, offensive line, and tight end are just an injury or two away from being really bad and a year away from losing guys to free agency or retirement.

The Reverend Jim Jones Was From Indiana: I’m Drinking the Who Dey Kool-aid.

IBeliveInJimJonesMy favorite thing about Indiana is this.   My second favorite thing is this scene from the motion picture “Hoosiers.”  Number three is probably this. Everything else about the Hoosier state is tied for last.  However, this man is Indiana in a microcosm.

History fact you may not have known:  Back 100 years ago or so, Indiana decided to invade Kentucky.   They lined up along the Ohio river and threw dynamite over into Louisville.  The surprised Kentuckians quickly rallied, lit the dynamite, and threw it back; thereby quickly quashing the Hoosier invasion.

On to football:

Once again, the Bengals will hit Interstate 74 toward Indianapolis for their fourth consecutive playoff appearance.  Lets hope its more than another postseason cameo.  Yes, the Bengals have qualified for the playoffs for the 4th straight season.  Only two teams have longer active playoff appearance streaks.  The Packers and Patriots have made it for their sixth straight year.

We all know that the Bengals have lost in the first round the previous three seasons.  In fact, this is the Bengals sixth playoff appearance in the last 10 years, putting them at 0-5.  The last time the Cincinnati franchise of the NFL won a playoff game, Hale Irwin was the US Open champion, West Germany was still a thing, the WWW (html) had just been invented, and the Reds were World Champions.

So this is of course a not so detailed post about how the Bengals (10-4-1) are going to beat the Colts (11-5).

First, these are two completely different teams than what matched up back on October 19th.  And this is the NFL.  No NFL game that took place in October has any bearing on what is going to happen in the playoffs.  The Bengals had no identity back then and the Colts played their best defense of the season, shutting the Bengals out 27-0.  The Colts defense finished the regular season ranked 20th in passing TDs given up and 21st in rushing TDs given up.   The even better news is that the Colts rushing defense finished 23rd in yards per rushing attempt.

Jeremy Hill had 4 rushing attempts on October 19.  Things have changed since then.

After holding the Bengals to 135 yards of total offense, the following week the Colts gave up over 600 yards to the Steelers and allowed over 400 total yards on three more occasions.   On paper, this is a game the Bengals are capable of winning.  Their strengths match up with the Colts weaknesses on both sides of the ball.

AJ Green has been missing from the Bengals practices this week due to the NFL concussion protocol.  Green is probably going to play.  With Green back and the Bengals running game much improved, the Bengals should be able to put points on the board.

However, the question is how much pressure can the Bengals put on Andrew Luck.  Last week against the Steelers, it didn’t appear that the Bengals were even trying to rush the quarterback.  I think that was as much about game planning against big Ben as it was the lack of a pass rush.  The Bengals do not have a very good linebacker core and they have trouble defending the middle of the field.  Roethlisberger should be the league MVP; he’s been amazing and I think Paul Guenther had a decent game plan.

The Bengals will have to get some pressure on Luck, force a turnover, and play much better on special teams than did last week, if they are going to have a chance to win the game.  The Colts have only scored more than 27 points once since November 3rd. Luck has thrown 5 interceptions in his last 4 games and looked lost against the Cowboys.  Hopefully the Bengals can find a way to get some pressure on the quarterback and continue their streak of forcing turnovers (9 in last 3 games),

I believe the Colts to be the best possible opponent for the Bengals out of all the remaining playoff teams.  With that said, there is a lot of history that says the Bengals can win but won’t.  But then, Vegas only has the spread at 3, in favor of the Colts.  Any home playoff team is going to get at least 3 versus the Bengals.  I think that spread shows lack of respect for the Colts defense.  I’m with Doc on this one, the Bengals will win.

Its okay to be negative about the Bengals.  The negativity makes the winning sweeter.  So start off your New Year with a big glass of Who Dey Kool-aid.

Bengals vs. Steelers Preview, Week 17, December 28, 2014

199323-330-0Only the Bengals would be a 3.5 point dog one week after waxing the sweethearts of the AFC.  In writing this preview, I just keep flashing back to 2005.  I’m pretty sure that season caused the entire Bengal fandom to experience PTSD.

Marvin’s motto over the last few seasons has been, “don’t flinch.”  After being punched in the face so many times as a fan, it is hard not to flinch.  The Benglas  cuddled with us on Monday night.  They held our hands and kissed us on the mouth.  They were very unselfish lovers.  They gave us hope that this time they were changed men.  We believed.  We let them back in and handed them the keys to our heart.

Now, they have to leave again.  Another road trip to Pittsburgh.  We hope and we believe as we sit and wait, wait for their return.  Will they have a relapse?  We still have questions and so does Vegas.

The game has been flexed to primetime (8:30 p.m.).  This is the biggest game in the NFL thus far this season.

The winner on Sunday night wins the division.  The AFC North division is nothing to sneeze at.  Its big boy football that has brought home multiple Superbowl appearances and wins over the last 15 years.  I’m worried.

After all, this is what I have lived with:

Passing Leader (all-time): Ken Anderson – 32,838 yards
Rushing Leader (all-time): Corey Dillon – 8,061 yards
Receiving Leader (all-time): Chad Johnson – 10,783 yards
Winningest Coach (all-time): Marvin Lewis – 100 wins

Two of those guys, you wouldn’t want in your living room.

How can the Bengals win?

Not by giving up 25 points in the 4th quarter as they did just 3 weeks ago.  The Bengals must play defense and stop the run.  That is their recipe for success. No one can beat the Bengals only throwing. NO ONE.  Dre Kirkpatrick can’t start for the Bengals.  The Bengals backup secondary is better than what most teams have starting.

The last time these two teams met, Andy Dalton threw for 322 yards.  The Bengals rushed for 85 yards and went MIA in the 4th quarter.  They were embarrassed. I have to wonder how much of Dick Lebeau’s game plan was to bet that Andy Dalton couldn’t do enough to win.  I also wonder how much of that loss three weeks ago had to do with Hue Jackson not realizing he was being taken out of his game plan.

The Bengals have an identity now which makes writing a preview a little easier.  They play great pass defense, they sometimes are good against the run and they can pound you on offense if you let them.  Defenses are closing off the Bengals game breakers, leaving Gresham as the go to option.  Dalton has been able to find him.

But this is the Steelers, at home.  Anything bad can happen.  The Bengals have not been good against tight ends this year (or ever) and Heath Miller is having an All Pro year.  Rey Malaluaga must have information on Marvin Lewis.  He continues to fall down way too often. He gives himself up to blockers and seems lost at times, still.  That can’t be part of his positional assignment.

I believe the Bengals will win.  How can you be so sure they will lose after last week?  James Harrison is starting for the Steelers again.  Pittsburgh is aging at some very key positions.  The last time the Bengals lost to the Steelers they had just won three straight games on the road. I see growth.  I feel loved.  But then I look at Roethlisberger’s season and realize that he deserves the MVP.   I am as confused as a drunk girl in a bathroom stall.

I look for the Bengals to run and run and run then find the deep ball.  Dick Lebeau knows how to defend the Bengals and that means Andy Dalton is going to get shots over the middle of the field.  He better take advantage. There is too much on the line.  Legacies are at stake.  Reputations.  The opportunity is too big to pass up.  Lebeau is going to go all in to not be embarrassed like the Broncos were on Monday night.  Dalton and the screen package will be big Sunday night.  The deep ball will return. I wouldn’t want to be Ike Taylor.

The Steelers have played over their heads.  They can’t possibly put up 500 yards against the team we saw Monday night.  They can’t possibly be prepared to stop Jeremy Hill since he has been named starter.  It was the last Pittsburgh game that earned Hill this start.  Hue recognized the team was going in the wrong direction.

Bengals we miss you and we love your face.  We will be here for you.  Don’t take advantage.  Be gentle. Please win.

Monday Night Football: Bengals vs. Bengals Preview

We all know the Bengals beat themselves under the lights on a regular basis.  With that out-of-the-way, how can they win?

Peyton Manning is 38 years old.  The oldest Super Bowl winning QB in NFL history was the 38-year-old Denver Bronco, John Elway, in 1998.  The next oldest was Brad Johnson at age 34 in 2002.  In 1998, Elway threw for 2,806 yards, (22 TDs, and 10 INTS) and Terrell Davis rushed for over 2,000 yards.  Football is a young man’s game.

Manning has not been very Manning lately; throwing only 20 times each of the last two weeks.  In the last 7 weeks, Manning has 4 multiple interception performances.  It is certain that he has been injured, the seriousness of the injury is unknown.

The Broncos are favored by 3.5 vs. the Bengals on Monday Night Football.  We Bengals viewers know that the Bengals are the Bengals biggest opponent.   We would all feel a little better about this game if it had taken place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, on a desert isle, with no television cameras.  For we have seen the Bengals fail time after time on national television.  Let’s be honest, would you really be all that surprised if they found a Bengal doing heroin in the Newport Pavilion Kroger tonight?

Peyton Manning, for all of his success and hall of fame numbers, has never been known to dominate the big stage either. He looked like he had never played the game before in last year’s Super Bowl.   The post season failures of the Colts during Manning’s time there is well documented.  At Tennessee, Manning failed to win a national championship with arguably UT’s most talented team ever.  Knocking Manning may seem like a stretch, but this is the NFL and crazier things have happen than Manning fumbling snaps and throwing interceptions on primetime television.

The Bengals come into this week with the 9th ranked defense in points given up.  Those are legitimately good numbers considering the schedule the Bengals have played thus far.  The Bengals have lost to the Steelers, Browns, Colts and Patriots.  In those losses, the opponents rushed for 193, 170, 171, and 220 yards respectively. The Broncos are 16th in rushing and really have only put together 2 impressive rushing games this season (exceeding 170 yards rushing only twice).

The Broncos have not been great on the road and the Bengals have not been great at home.  And so it goes.

I think we will see a close game with the edge going to the Broncos on Monday Night; if Manning is playing and playing reasonably well and getting support from the running game.  That is a big if.  However, if the Broncos show up and expect to throw the ball 45 times against the Bengals and win, they are mistaken.  Throwing every down is a recipe to get Manning killed tomorrow night.  If the Bengals can keep the Bronco running game at bay as New England (43 yards) and St. Louis (28 yards) were able to do, they will win and win convincingly.

Look for the Bengals to air it out.  I do not think the Broncos have an answer for AJ Green.  I would be really surprised if the Bengals are able to pound out 200 yards rushing vs the Broncos.  But if they do rush well, something went really right for the Bengals and they are better than I thought.  Dalton is going to have to show up and play well and he just might vs this Bronco pass defense.

Still crazy after all these years…