The Cincinnati Bengals deserve credit for not tanking, when they easily could have
For as dreadful as the 2019 season was for the Cincinnati Bengals, they deserve a lot of credit for not tanking, when they easily could have.
The Cincinnati Bengals were the worst team in the NFL. At 2-14, it’s the potential of drafting the next franchise quarterback that has fans excited about the upcoming offseason that doesn’t include the playoffs. It’s a tough sell to the fans, but they deserve credit for not taking the easy route and tanking late in the season.
December provided all kinds of opportunities to take the gas pipe. Instead, they opened the last month of the season by beating the New York Jets 22-6, then they lost three in a row, including an overtime loss at Miami 38-35, and beat the disappointing Cleveland Browns 33-23 in Week 17. With the exception of a 34-13 loss against the New England Patriots, every game had its opportunities for a victory.
Having watched those last five games, the Bengals showed why only a second win is providing optimism for 2020. Simply put, Cincinnati never quit. Not once. They could have started rookie Ryan Finley, all but guaranteeing a winless record, but they didn’t. They went back to veteran Andy Dalton to TRY and win. Fortunately or not, the Bengals were just bad enough to manage onto two victories.
Tanking would have been easy. Cincinnati has all the ingredients and reason to call it quits at the bye week. Instead, they shifted gears and played for the fans in the stands who showed up and cheered for a win. In Week 17, with the rival Browns in town, Dalton gave the home crowd one last reason to cheer before shutting it down for another season. That’s integrity, any way you slice it.
Zac Taylor was a tremendous disappointment in his first season as a head coach. But he deserves credit for staying the course, weathering the criticism (fair though it was), and delivering something that seemed impossible at the beginning of December. He delivered hope for his fanbase and the promise that 2020 has the chance to be much better than 2019.