Good teams find a way to win. In a hostile, emotional atmosphere, the Bengals found a way to do just that. They pulled out a W on the road.
It’s only the start of Week 2. There’s no need to get so excited you make a promise to not shower until the Bengals post an L. You’ll definitely lose a few friends. But, one thing is certainly refreshing…a road win. When it was time to get things done, the Bengals tamed a hostile crowd at MetLife Stadium. They fulfilled that old saying. In the last moments, they found a way to win.
The criticism will always be the same for Cincinnati football. Until Bengals players are celebrating and holding the Lombardi high, they’ll always have to prove their worth. The New York struggle was a proving grounds of sorts. While emotions soared sky high, the Orange and Black could have folded. Yet, they didn’t.
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In the days before the game, national experts gave the Bengals their nod of support. Nearly 70 percent of the picks favored Jets loss. Is that a vote of confidence or lack of respect for Gang Green? Either way, the Bengals lived up to the hype and came away with the win.
It would be easy to say the final score was a fluke. There were moments that could have steered the game in the Jets favor. After marching 78 yards in 10 plays, New York was up 7-0. Just as Andy Dalton was looking like The Red Rifle of 2015, he tossed a lame duck intended for Tyler Boyd. Marcus Williams politely returned the errant pass.
At that point, most Bengals fans were probably hoping for a respectable loss. After all, it was the anniversary of 9/11. The crowd was pumped up, and Gang Green was looking tough. Time to circle the wagons and go into survival mode.
The Rebound Effect
Instead of folding up, the Bengals came to life. After the interception, the Jets’ drive stalled. But, they were in a prime position to take a 10-0 lead. Be thankful. The football gods had ordered pizza that day and were watching the game. On the field goal attempt, Margus Hunt (thank you mighty Estonian wolf) got a big mitt on the ball and it sailed left.
That was the beginning of the turnaround. The momentum was given to Cincinnati and they began to settle into cruise control.
The blocked kick was the catalyst needed to bring Marvin’s Men to life. Although the defensive line struggled, they survived. Paul Guenther’s bend-but-don’t-break approach kept the Bengals’ defense from wilting under pressure.
Seven sacks? In any dimension, on any planet, that total is unacceptable. But, Marvin Lewis and Co. will find the answer. In the second half, the offensive line cleaned up their technique.
Overall, the game was an emotional rollercoaster with five lead changes. Dalton’s late heroics and Mike Nugent’s 47-yard field goal iced the win.
As every football purist understands, the battle could have ended differently. If the Jets convert that extra point, or if Brandon Marshall catches the deep pass things are different.
With all that said, it’s over. Bengals win. The Men in Stripes did what they had to do. In fact, the truly found a way to win. Now, it’s time to find a way in Pittsburgh.