Put An End To Playoff Futility
To say the Bengals had an off-year would be an understatement. After getting closer than they have since 1992, Cincinnati blew it. A rainy January night at Paul Brown Stadium was almost an exorcism. With less than two minutes to play, the Bengals were leading the Steelers and on their way to the Divisional Round. But, as fate would have it, meltdowns by Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict changed the course of history.
Most fans will say they were shocked. But, real Bengals fans were looking for something to happen. Maybe it was all the negative energy beneath the hope that caused the turn of events. Whatever the case, it ended the way it usually does for the Men in Stripes.
Losing isn’t the main problem. It’s the way the losses are occurring. With the exception of two games, the Bengals have been demolished. The fact that they lost by an average of 18 points is unacceptable. Even when the defensive matches against Houston and Pittsburgh are added, the margin of defeat is still 12.4 points.
In each playoff game, Cincinnati looked unprepared and flat. Teams that are building dynasties don’t downplay the opponent. Every nuance of the defense, offense and special teams is evaluated for possible adjustments.
It has to start somewhere. Lewis has claimed the 2017 season will be “vastly different.” A postseason win or deep run would be a huge kickstart.