3 things Bengals’ win over Baltimore Ravens revealed

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The season finale showed the character development of the Cincinnati Bengals. Now, they have to get a handle on who’ll be walking the sidelines.

The Cincinnati Bengals ended the 2017 campaign with a bang. They were able to post a come-from-ahead victory over the Baltimore Ravens, on New Year’s Eve. The W was their second consecutive win against a team that had its sights set on the postseason party. In Week 16, the Bengals were able to spoil the fun for the Detroit Lions and send them home. Sunday’s game was flexed to an early primetime slot and the Bengals delivered the drama Roger Goodell and the NFL craved.

With the win, the Bengals also opened another can of worms that fans have been contemplating most of the season. Marvin Lewis has posted two subpar years, since tying the franchise record with a 12-4 mark in 2015. Is he truly moving on? Was that win enough to get Lewis an extension and keep him around another two or three years? And if he stays, what will he be doing with the franchise?

It’s hard to say, with Mike Brown. The two will sit down for an end-of-the-year pow-wow to get things in order. Honestly, the final two games seemed like another team was on the field. The drubbing of Baltimore was great. But, what did it prove?

This team has character 

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For some strange reason, over the final two weeks, the Bengals have resembled an NFL team. Okay, maybe that was a bit harsh. But, the emotional level of this team has been over the top. To be fair, the year started out with question marks on offense and never really got much better. Yet, there was no fire in the players and Lewis looked like a man waiting to get his pink slip.

But, against the Lions and Ravens, there was a definite swagger. Could it be the Lewis situation helped motivate the troops? Whatever happened, there was a sudden change in the attitude of the players. Yup. Marvin was still clapping his hands on the sidelines, like a yell leader. And Bill Lazor was still trying to find his groove calling plays. But, they won. The Bengals dug deep and found a way to win the games they weren’t supposed to.


In other words, there was a sudden overload of character surfacing in players. The Bengals had suddenly found the passion and fire that had been missing for the majority of 2017. What does that mean for the future of this team? The Bengals have the talent. They have the pieces that can be messed together to create a winning product. Now, Mike Brown has to share the same vision of the fans. Get this ship righted and get back to the playoffs. Then, make the right moves to progress from there. An AFC Championship would be nice.

Cincinnati Bengals fans have been waiting long enough. There’s character waiting to be utilized.

The Ginger ain’t always at fault

Riding on the back of that newfound character trait is Mr. Andy Dalton. For the first part of Sunday’s battle, Dalton was a beast. He was on the money and looked sharp. But, somewhere along the way, Lazor and Lewis became predictable. It was nice to see the no-huddle offense dusted off and used again. But, Dean Pees and the Ravens D adjusted. Um, yeah. There’s that nasty word Lewis says isn’t real. When that happened, there was no counter adjustment from the Bengals offensive braintrust. Lots of dropped passes.

I’m gonna get it for this. But, Dalton isn’t that kind of QB. You know, the Ken Anderson, Boomer Esiason type of personality. In essence, Dalton isn’t the kind of guy that will go against the grain. He’s too nice. Great guy, but he needs to speak up when things aren’t working. Bottom line, he needs to develop the Esiason attitude and Anderson confidence.

To be honest, on the game-winning drive, those “character traits” did emerge. With the O-line giving him good protection again, he was able to thread the needle with Tyler Boyd and get the job done. On the evening, Dalton’s numbers were good. But, his completion percentage (52.3), QBR (59.6) and rating (89.4) were below what he’s posted in the past. Yet, 222 yards and three TDs show his ability to get it done. Yeah, yeah. He’s not Tom Brady. But, with a decent line, he can manufacture some W’s.

"“The last two weeks, we really came together as a team,” Dalton stressed, via Bengals.com. “We now believe we’re close to being a playoff team again. This was the perfect way to end the season.”"

The youngsters are getting better

There were still starters missing from the lineup. The defense was missing its spark plug. Vontaze Burfict was still nursing a shoulder injury. Hardy Nickerson and Carl Lawson filled in for Jordan Evans when he was injured in the second half.

Overall, the defense bent but didn’t break and showed that the youngsters are getting wiser.

Next: Promising Futures

The O-line continued to pave the way for the running game and Lewis noticed.

"“Running the ball today was the difference in the football game for us. It got us off to a good start early. We needed to run it, and we were able to run it until they started ganging up on us at the end. So, that was a big part of the game early.”"

Joe Mixon (96 yards rushing on 18 carries) did his impersonation of Rex Burkhead and shredded the Ravens D.

Finally, there’s a bright future for the Bengals. All they need, now, is to find out who’ll be walking the sidelines.