When the Cincinnati Bengals get hot, they can be like no other team in the league. The scoreboard becomes their best friend, and scoring on the defense is almost impossible.
That happens for about a quarter and a half.
And then it sets in.
It’s a part about sports that plagues a lot of teams. They get ahead. They’re feeling good. But sometimes, complacency is too appealing to overcome. It’s like laziness while sitting at the desk, browsing the computer. Or procrastinating over school work. You do it until you finally realize-
“I got to get this work done! It’s already 5:00!”
When you could have been chipping away at it for the last three hours.
I’ve seen it several times. The Bengals grab a quick lead over an inferior team, then become content with a first score, thinking it sets the tone for the rest of the work-day and that their job is officially done.
Up 24-7 against the Redskins. Two quarters later? 24-24.
They scored first against Cleveland in week 6. Then a quick moment of hesitation. A second of standing flat-footed, and a receiver blows by Reggie Nelson for the 70-yard touchdown score.
Sorry, Reggie. I don’t mean to single you out.
Cincinnati fans could even sense it in the second and third quarters against the San Diego Chargers last week.
I get it. When you’re ahead, you’re on top of the world. I’ve played enough football to know it. You’re up by a single touchdown, and you’re already shifting to a soft zone defense.
That’s all fine and dandy, except for the fact that it’s still the first quarter, and suddenly the game’s tied.
Complacency comes with youth in a team. And it has been the Bengals’ worst enemy this season. That’s it. Themselves. If the Bengals would have played every game this season like there were five minutes left in the fourth quarter, they’d be unstoppable.
Then again, so would every other team. It just seems to me like Cincinnati falls victim to it a bit more than everyone else.