November 18, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis congratulates wide receiver A.J. Green (18) in the second half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bengals won 28-6. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals are who we Thought they Were


 

Dennis Green has always been my favorite.

Not as a head coach mind you, though he certainly had some success. No, I’m talking about his great meltdown in Arizona. You can have your Jim Mora, your Tommy Lasorda, your Mike Gundy—Dennis Green is my favorite. And really, who doesn’t love a good meltdown?

They are who we THOUGHT THEY WERE! It’s just great. What’s even better (since this is a site dedicated to the Cincinnati Bengals, after all) is that Green’s profound words can be applied not just to the 2006 Chicago Bears, but to the 2012 Bengals as well.

Perhaps “better” isn’t the correct adjective, at least not from the point of view of a Bengals fan. Cincinnati has followed up its four game losing streak by winning four straight to put the team squarely in the thick of the wild card race in the AFC. But are the Bengals really a different team?

No, not really. The biggest reason for Cincinnati’s current win streak hasn’t been the revitalized defense, or the newly-found ability to run the ball, or some other internal improvement. It’s a scheduling quirk. The Bengals have had the good fortune to play three straight games against the dregs of the rotten AFC West.

Those are games the Bengals should win, and did. That’s a good sign, as was the upset win over the New York Giants. But go back to the last two Cincinnati losses. Both were against legitimate Super Bowl contenders (Pittsburgh with Roethlisberger, and Denver), and both came down to the final two minutes. Cincinnati played fairly well both of those weeks, especially against the Broncos, but wasn’t able to pull out victories against high-caliber competition. The Bengals then run off the winning streak, but against mostly dubious competition at best.

I need to see more before I become a believer. The Bengals are still in the pattern, for the most part at least, of beating the teams they should beat, and losing when they are supposed to lose. With the notable exception of the Giants win and the Cleveland loss this year, you can make a case that has been true in every game the past two years.

At this point, the Bengals still are who I thought they were—hopefully they change my mind over the next four weeks.

 

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