Before we begin to dive into the Cincinnati Bengals‘ divisional-round game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville Saturday, I have to devote some space to the win at Paul Brown Stadium in the Wild Card round over the Las Vegas Raiders.
The city of Cincinnati, the Bengal organization, and the fan base have suffered for a long time. The jokes, the often warranted criticism, the unfulfilled promise, the fluke plays, the jaw-dropping losses — What haven’t we seen?
From Jeremy Hill and his famous fumble to Carson Palmer’s knee to Andy Dalton’s inability to raise his level of play in the big games, what haven’t we lived through?
For me, I have spent a good portion of this season waiting for the other shoe to fall. Yes, the stripes have a very talented squad, particularly on offense, but sandwiched around the impressive wins were equally inexplicable losses.
Even the most optimistic amongst us still lived with that dread lurking in the back of our minds. When will the “Bungles” show up? I despise that name, but it’s undeniable that they have occasionally earned it.
Saturday at a rocking Paul Brown Stadium, that all was washed away. All is forgiven. The 90’s, the missed opportunities, the underachievers, the questionable calls? All forgiven. This is a new era of promise fulfilled, of excitement and hope, and of players you are proud to see in stripes.
All that aside, the Bengals still have a tough task at hand in the Music City Saturday. If the Bengals can find a way to topple the AFC’s top-seeded team, then a shot at a conference title and Super Bowl appearance lie ahead.
Here are three questions the Bengals must answer versus the Titans Saturday.