That was me in my car a few days ago, listening to Sirius NFL Radio as Carson Palmer recounted the fourth-down pass to Brian Leonard that perserved the Bengals fourth-quarter comeback against the Steelers and perhaps saved the early part of their season. About 24 hours after the game, it finally hit me. And I had to yell.
Cincinnati had beaten Pittsburgh at home for the first time in eight years. With a last-minute rally. And two fourth-down conversions, the second of which was Leonard’s catch and run for 11 yards on 4th and 10. It was one of those fairy-tale plays that has long been missing in the Queen City, a Rip Van Winkle awakening that has been dormant for way too long. Dare I say it, but I think Cincinnati is starting to believe in these Bengals. And for that, Brian Leonard deserves a giant man-hug.
Geoff Hobson gave him a little bromance today with a glowing feature about his upbringing in quiet, upstate New York. And one of the greatest things revealed in the story is that after Leonard saved the Bengals with his fourth-down conversion, after he caught the ensuing two-point conversion, he quietly returned to the field for the ensuing kickoff. That’s what makes me feel good about this team.
There’s a business-like approach present that seems to have been missing in the past. That attitude should keep the team from experiencing a let-down in Cleveland this Sunday (although I worry that it might be closer than we would like). And that attitude should keep them in contention for the remainder of the season (fingers crossed).
Leonard might just be a bit player on this year’s Bengals, but he represents everything that’s right with the team: A team player who performs well when it counts and will fight for every last inch. He will be my hero for a few more days.
And I owe him a man-hug.