3 games that helped pave way for Bengals to reach Super Bowl LVI

Sam Hubbard #94 and Larry Ogunjobi #65 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Sam Hubbard #94 and Larry Ogunjobi #65 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Week 8: A much-needed gut check in the Meadowlands

How can a loss be a defining moment on the way to the Super Bowl?

Thanks for asking, I’m gonna tell you.

Seven weeks into the season, the Bengals were riding high, leading the AFC North, and fresh off a blowout win over the Ravens in Baltimore. Okay, so maybe they deserved to be feeling themselves after embarrassing the Ravens in beautiful Baltimore.

What happened next however shocked the  Who Dey faithful and served to remind the NFL what the cliche “any given Sunday” means.

I probably don’t need to remind any of us of what happened that day but I will. Someone named Mike White abused the Bengal defense for 405 yards passing and three touchdowns. White completed passed to 10 different receivers and despite throwing two picks, the Bengal defense had no answer for the Jets nickel and dime game plan.

How many games since have we seen opposing offenses start strong, only to be completely befuddled after half? Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes know.

The Bengals held a double-digit lead in the second half only to squander it to arguably one of the three worst teams in the league. The Jets pushed around the Bengals and wanted the game more.

Was this the game that prompted Lou Anarumo to reevaluate and adjust at halftime? It certainly would appear to be that way. Ultimately none of us are in the locker room, but something precipitated the masterful Anarumo adjustments we have seen the last quarter of the season.

Ultimately, the Bengals came out Week 8 and expected to walk over an inferior opponent. The only real lapses I have witnessed mentally were this week. This loss to the lowly Jets helped shock the Bengals back to reality. The reality is that anyone can beat anyone else on any given Sunday in the NFL.

This was a much-needed gut check that helped harden this team and prepare them for the adversity of a Super Bowl run.