Bengals News

Of Bengals, Baltimores, and Byes


Angst in Bengaldom, always high ahead of a division game, has been magnified even further this week by Cincinnati’s anemic 1-4-1 record coming off the bye under head coach Marvin Lewis.

Well, take heart, Bengals fans. That lonely win came back in 2003 over — wait for it — the Baltimore Ravens. Led by future Hall of Fame QB Jon Kitna, the Bengals won 34-26 despite being out-gained, out-first-downed, and being led by future Hall of Fame QB Jon Kitna.

Seriously, if Kitna can come off the bye and beat the Ravens, you have to like Carson Palmer’s chances.

Cincinnati has a rep, at least among many of its own fans, for not being competitive after a bye week, but closer examination belies the myth. In 2004, they lost 34-17 to the Browns — but in the four games leading up to that week six tilt, the average score was Bengals 16.5, Opponent 23.7, so that result was about par for the course.

In 2005, they came off the bye to face the (eventually 14-2) Colts, to whom they lost in a 45-37 shootout. Their downfall there? Both teams had seven scoring drives, but just one of Indy’s ended in a FG, versus three of Cincy’s.

In 2006, they would have beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-7 if it hadn’t been for the worst roughing-the-passer call in the history of the NFL.

2007? There, the Bengals indeed flopped off of the bye, losing to the (eventually) four-win Chiefs 27-20 — and it wasn’t as close as the final score indicates, with the Bengal scoring 13 fourth-quarter points.

Last season, of course, the Bengals faced the Philadelphia Eagles following the bye, a game which ended in a 13-all tie. Which, depressingly, has to be counted among the brighter spots of a forgettable ’08 campaign.

I expect Sunday’s game to be a tough battle.

I also expect the Bengals to win. Who-Dey!