Just to keep Bengal Nation from overflowing with optimism, I thought it might be a good idea to focus on one of the things that went wrong last weekend. Actually, there were 13 things that went wrong for a total of 100 yards. I’m speaking about the Bengals penalties of course, a persistent problem in the Marvin Lewis era. I’ve always liked Coach Lewis for playing the good soldier and keeping the Bengals competitive in most years, but something tells me Cincy wouldn’t be making so many mistakes if Mike “MF” Zimmer were the head coach. Marvin has to get this penalty issue cleaned up before it comes back to kill his team. Sunday’s high number might be partially due to some penalty-happy refs (Green Bay had 11 for 76), but the team had four crucial ones in the Denver game as well, two of which I believe wiped out first downs.
So as the team prepares for Pittsburgh, it needs to focus on playing mistake-free football. Palmer needs to avoid interceptions. The backs and receivers need to hang on to the football. And everyone else needs to stay away from anything that might result in a flying yellow flag. The early line has the Steelers as a 4 – 4.5 point favorite, which makes perfect sense. Pittsburgh has a history of winning. Cincy has a tradition of screwing things up.
But things could change on Sunday. And avoiding penalties would be a good start.
Viva la underdog!