The Cincinnati Bengals won a hard-fought game at Paul Brown Stadium this afternoon, sweeping their AFC North rival Baltimore and improving to 6-2 — and 4-0 in the division — in the process. But the win came at a high price, as WR Chris Henry broke his arm, and LB Keith Rivers suffered a calf injury. Early reports say Rivers will be back in a few weeks, but Henry is facing further medical examination, and may be done for 2009. That puts the pressure squarely on underachieving WR Jerome Simpson, a second-round pick last year, to step up, though QB Carson Palmer seems to want WR Maurice Purify called up from the practice squad.
The win is having a predictable impact. Doc is buying in. Over at SI.com, Don Banks lavishes praise on the team, and says it’s between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati for the division crown. CBS’ Gregg Doyle says that it’s time to take off the blinders, the Bengals are for real. ESPN’s James Walker writes that the Bengals are no joke, and that they are one step closer to the AFCN title. Vinny Iyer declares that the Bengals rule the AFCN. And if they win next week, Doug Farrar at yahoo sports notes they may face their biggest challenge yet: wrapping up the regular season too early.
We should be so lucky, eh? Bring on the Steelers!