Week 13 will be a chance for the Bengals to prove something. If not for themselves, they should show heart for the fans.
Yeah. It’s Steelers Week. And no, it’s not your average matchup. Once upon a time the battle used to be about hard hits, smack talk and bragging rights. But, with the changing of rules and the sad sham of Marvin Lewis, the once rivalry has turned into a one-sided farce. When the Bengals and Steelers meet on Monday Night Football, the stage will be bigger than life. It’s about respect.
The “R” word has gone by the wayside when these two teams play. For some odd reason, Lewis never seems to have the Bengals ready for battles with the Stilluhs. The players come out unfocused and flat. After the Week 6 bye, Cincinnati rolled into Pittsburgh saying some of the right things. But, in action, they laid an egg. Brain cramps took hold of the coaching staff and no adjustments were made for the second half (again). A chance to win was tossed onto the junk heap and the Bengals came out the laughing-stock (again).
Time for a new approach
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Instead of the same old “it’s just another game” approach, Lewis needs to be real with his players. Essentially, most of the Bengals are aware of what’s on the line. A loss to the Steelers makes them look like a playoff pretender. How can they claim to be legitimate contenders if they can’t beat the top team in the division? If the Bengals want to be regarded as a real playoff team, this is the chance. Beat the Steelers and don’t hand out any excuses. In fact, there’s no need to think about injuries. Beat them at full strength, so there’s no room for doubt.
AFC North 2.0
This is the second game of the series. Straight, no chaser. In other words, this is like the bottom of the ninth, two out and a home run wins the game. The Bengals are due for a walk-off win. Week 13 is the time to get one. For that to happen, Lewis and Co. need to get things in order. All that rhetoric about taking it one game at a time is nice. Sounds good for the dialogue of a movie. But, the Bengals have been staring in a recurring drama for 15 years. It’s called We Can’t Beat the Steelers When We Need To. Time to get another script.
Bill Lazor has come around as of late. His play calling isn’t as predictable. But, he’ll have to be Houdini on Monday night. Amazingly, the Steelers seem to be inside the Bengals’ heads on most of the plays. That’s a combination of good defense and horrendous offensive execution. Can it. This is the game you should get as wacky as Sam Wyche.
Stop making excuses
Once again, it’s time to stop making excuses. Did I mention excuses? The teams that want to be respected play like it. They come out and punch the opponent in the mouth and keep it moving. Additionally, the Bengals have to execute. Having a good plan is nothing without being able to implement those schemes.
Talk is cheap. But, a sock to the jaw will get some attention. The Steelers need a good, sound Mike Tyson blow to the cranium.
Monday night is the perfect time. But, it’s about the mental approach. If Lewis mopes around like a lame duck (oops), they might as well let it go and hope for the best against the Vikings. Marvin has to look at his contemporaries and get some motivation. Wyche was 10-6 against the Steelers and Forrest Gregg was 5-2. Both coaches have what Lewis doesn’t. Yup, a Super Bowl appearance for the Bengals. With the 50th Anniversary bringing legends to town, Marvin should be soaking up the vibes. Instead, we get the same old unimaginative approach to the Steelers. Ho hum.
C’mon, Bengals. It’s time to take the respect back. After all, it’s the Steelers.