Bengals Roundtable: Bye Week Optimism

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Joe Johnson

It has been 30 years since the Bengals have last had consecutive playoff years, and the drought seems to be continuing. Last year, the Bengals shocked the entire league, going 9-7 and making the playoffs, a year after a dismal 4-12 year and the departure of disgruntled QB Carson Palmer. This was behind the dynamic rookie duo of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. That was all without an offseason to work with because of the lockout. One had to wonder what these two could do with an offseason, with plenty of optimism that these two would be elite, and the team looked to be built for years to come. Going into 2012, a lot of people picked the Bengals to win the AFC North, but a week 1 beat-down from Baltimore put a bit of a speed bump in Bengals fans’ aspirations. Then the Bengals won three straight games, and they looked outstanding.

Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) stretches before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-US PRESSWIRE

Now we are here.  Coming off a three game losing streak, there isn’t much to celebrate for Bengals fans. In a season that was promising at the beginning, and especially after a three game winning streak, the Bengals have seen a lot of ups and downs, with a few more downs than ups: turnovers, poor defensive play, and inconsistency, which is why the record stands at 3-4 and a season that is beginning to look more and more like a lost season.
This isn’t anything new to Bengals fans. It seems that after the Bengals shock the world for a year, they have a really bad year, then another good one, and so on. It has been the same way for the past decade especially. There aren’t many teams that can go from 10-6 to 4-12, and back again, but the Bengals have shown that they can do it.
Here is a look at the records since 2005:

2006: 8-8
2007: 7-9
2008: 4-11-1
2009: 10-6
2010: 4-12
2011: 9-7
2012: (as of right now) 3-4

Jerod Livengood

I guess one “positive” that you can take out of the three game losing streak is that the Bengals have been in each of those games up until the final minutes. They haven’t been getting blown out of the water, which does make a difference in predicting how they will do going forward, if not being any help in the standings.

Sitting at 3-4 isn’t a disaster in isolation. But we all know what the schedule looks like going forward. The playoffs almost seem like a pipe dream at this point, and Cincinnati absolutely must at least split the next two games at home, against Super Bowl contenders Denver and the New York Giants. Anyone here think the Bengals can do that?

Oh right…the question was about remaining positive. It does just come down to records, and the general mediocrity of the AFC. Other than Houston and Baltimore, no teams have pulled away from the pack, and the Ravens have serious issues of their own. A lucky bounce here or there, maybe a couple of close wins, and the Bengals are right back in the thick of things.

As for the rest of the season, I’m very much looking forward to Dre Kirkpatrick finally getting on the field. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the team responds to this losing streak. The 2010 lost some close games early on, and seemed to fold up the tent. I’m hoping the 2012 Bengals don’t follow that script.

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