The Bengals Week 2 battle is a “rematch” of sorts. Heinz Field and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be a serious road test for Cincinnati.
There’s no denying what time it is in Cincinnati. The cool crisp clean feel of hatred is in the air. Week 2 is the matchup of the year…even though it’s just two games in. Bengals faithful are sharpening their scowls and getting prepared for the second Sunday battle. It’s Steelers Week in the Queen City. Expect the worst and anticipate even crazier things to happen. It’s the rematch of the decade.
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But, as the game approaches, there’s not much being said from the guys in Orange and Black. Could that be a good thing? In other words (clears throat and prepares medieval accent), “Hast thou forgotten the mantra for this season?” Marvin Lewis set down specific rules that apply to the Steelers. His players are following suit.
Everyone knows it’s so entertaining to hear a good Bengals-Steelers tale. The rivalry has been elevated to near legend status. There are tons of stories that could bring back floods of emotions on either side. But, the problem isn’t in ancient history. Recent interest seems to be in just one game…The Wild Card meltdown.
Apparently, there seems to be a breakdown in understanding between reporters and Lewis. Instead of moving on from the January 9 battle, there’s a tendency to embrace it. The Wild Card game has suddenly become the most identifying game between the rivals.
Marvin ain’t havin’ it. What was his response to recent questions?
"“New team, new season, new year.”"
Reasons To Hate
The last three games between the Bengals and Steelers have been riddled with injuries. Last season, in Week 8, Cincinnati traveled to the Steel City and shocked analysts with a 16-10 comeback victory. The Bengals defense was stingy that day and picked off Ben Roethlisber three times. Pittsburgh was just as nasty. Dalton was intercepted twice. But, the end result is what counts.
During that Week 8 contest, the reasons to hate got turned up a notch. Vontaze Burfict tackled Le’Veon Bell and drove him out of bounds. The result? Bell suffered an MCL tear and missed the rest of the season. In 2014, Bell suffered a hyperextended knee, during a Week 17 battle with the Bengals.
For Steelers fans, that’s enough to get out the pitchforks and torches.
Week 14 was a nightmare come to life, for the Bengals. Dalton injured his thumb, trying to tackle a 300-pound defensive lineman. Andy has been officially banned from trying to tackle anyone. His orders from team captain Adam Jones are to run to the sidelines and seek safety. The double whammy was Tyler Eifert leaving the same game with a concussion.
The icing on the cake was January 9 in Cincinnati. Burfict put–what looked to be–a clean hit on Antonio Brown. Instead of bouncing up, as he usually does, Brown laid motionless on the field. Once more (whether real or faked), the lunacy had induced a serious injury. Pittsburgh was without the services of Brown for the Divisional Round.
There’s enough anger, misconception, and disbelief to fuel the next ten generations of Bengals-Steelers matchups.
Let The Trash Fly
Why not let the foul words fall where they may? Isn’t that what football is all about? To a certain extent, it is. Being able to have a bit of “friendly” fun is natural. When negative trash talking is elevated, it’s time to shut it down. Murder threats? There’s no place for that.
When Marvin Lewis issued the no trash policy, it was an effort to keep the Bengals focused on the season. So far, it seems to be working. There has been nothing crazy said and no insane responses. Does that mean Sunday’s game will be nice and chummy? Probably not a chance. But, it does ensure that play on the field will be a high energy contest resulting in a Pittsburgh loss. That’s the real entertainment value of Steelers Week. True Bengals thuggery from a laptop.