The Bengals’ 2016 campaign ended in heartbreak. Lack of preparation resulted in a 6-9-1 record. It’s time to stop finding excuses and finish.
Another year, another season of the same old promises. But, this time it was much worse. After an offseason full of anticipation, the Bengals dished out a plate of disappointment that was hard to swallow. One full year after falling seconds shy of their first playoff win in 24 years…nothing has changed. Bengals faithful are wondering what happened and how things went sour so fast. Was it the injuries? Did the refs take games away? It’s time to stop complaining and finish.
From 2011 to 2015, the Bengals had become a perennial playoff machine. No matter what the media had to say about Marvin Lewis & Co., one thing was etched in stone. The Bengals were going to be a Wild Card contender. There was a certain swagger that the Stripes had developed. The confidence that comes with being a postseason write-in was evident. Cincinnati had found the formula for regular season success and that was turning into opportunities to exorcise the demons.
But, a funny thing happened on the way to consecutive postseason berth number six. Cincinnati lost its superhero playbook and ran into a few chunks of kryptonite. There was still hope and the believers wanted to rally around the Bengals. But, the excuses and mistakes became too huge to overcome. Another year and tons of talent would be dormant for another season.
More from Bengals News
- 6 Bengals whose stock significantly rose in preseason game vs Cardinals
- 7 winners and 7 losers from Bengals preseason opener vs. Cardinals
- Jackson Carman winning LG job isn’t a given after Bengals preseason opener
- Denzel Ward wants to flex on Bengals WRs in 2022
- Scouting the enemy: Bengals preseason opener chat with Raising Zona
It’s Always Those Dang Refs…Or Is It?
Being a Bengals fan means dealing with calls that seem to always benefit the opponent. It seems like the bias against the Stripes is never-ending. At the risk of being opinionated (I love exercising that option), the 2015 Wild Card game was a prime example. Giovani Bernard was almost decapitated by the Steelers’ Ryan Shazier. The result? A no-call ruling.
In fact, the game was a comedy of questionable errors by the refs. But, I digress. There’s no need to blather about the past. Wait…one last walk down memory lane. Did Tyler Boyd really fumble in Week 2?
Here’s the bottom line. Teams that are prepared to win don’t complain about the officiating. Yes, there are going to be horrendous calls. There may even be judgments by certain officials that keep happening. But, the end result is about (let’s say it together class) FOCUS.
Having the ability to screen out those calls and get the job done comes from the top. The responsibility is on the head honcho, i.e., Marvin Lewis. It’s the sole duty of the coaching staff to ensure the mindset of the athletes.
Bengals players are not excused from being prepared individually. In essence, knowing what to expect is part of the preparation process. Boneheaded mistakes by the Bengals cost the team more than a few games, over the past few seasons. It’s time for Lewis to make the changes necessary. If that means benching players that can’t focus…so be it. No more excuses.
Failure To Adjust
The truth? You can’t handle it. Okay, here it is. The Bengals are notorious for failing to adjust to the opponent. Week 15 was a heartbreaking loss to those bullies from the northeast. The Bengals went into the break with a 20-9 lead. It seemed as if the streak was going to be broken. Bengals believers would finally see a blowout of the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Nope. Cincinnati failed to score another point.
Whether it tends to be emotional or technical, the Bengals come from halftime lacking something. They execute like zombies in football pads. That wouldn’t be so bad if they were the World War Z types. But, the play seems to favor the slow, lumbering style in Night of the Living Dead. With that being said, the Bengals need to develop a mindset to finish. Players are aware of the situation but rarely address the problem.Yet, when they do, it’s painfully obvious.
"“We work hard, we play hard,’’ Tyler Eifert explained, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We gotta have more of that killer instinct. It’s matter of execution.’’"
"“We didn’t do a thing at all. That’s how you lose games. We didn’t do well adjusting to what they were doing. It seems like it’s every game.’’"
The 2016 campaign was a bust. Once again, a talented bunch of players has been put on the shelf until next season. Lewis will be back at the helm. Maybe this time he can find the right buttons to push. Bengals fans need to experience the electricity of 1982 and 1988. But, this time with different results.