Maybe it shows how far they’ve come in the last 100 or so days. But from the phone calls I took Sunday night on 700 WLW’s Bengals Feedback Show, close isn’t good enough
More than a few Bengal fans were jumping off the proverbial band wagon, after the Bengals lost to the Steelers. Well, lost isn’t exactly the correct verb. Te adverb badly is needed, when the conversation turns to Sunday’s 35-7 thrashing at the hands of the Steelers.
Close isn’t a word I’d use to descri be the ballgame. It was anything but. The Bengals had a field goal blocked (after a penalty that negated a touchdown and another that wiped out a field goal attempt that split the uprights), fumbled a kickoff return that resulted in points and generally let the Steelers run rough shod over them. An apologiest would cite the key injuries the Bengals had on defense, particularly the ones that sidelined defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Nate Clements. Frankly, even with those two in the line up, I’m not sure the outcome would have been a whole lot different.
The Bengals are ‘close’ to where the Steelers are in terms of personnel. Sunday, that personnel didn’t execute well enough to lend any legitimacy to the comparison. But the gap separating the two teams is closing. Maybe in another year, the outcome will be different. Up until Sunday, a lot of Bengals fans who’ve been giving this team and franchise a second chance had been placated by the way the team has performed so far this season. But clearly, a lot of fans today are not.
Are the Bengals 7-5 because the talent level has been upgraded and the locker room has been purged of drama? Or are the Bengals 7-5 simply because the combined record of the teams they’ve beaten this season is 26-51? It’s a legitimate question. After Sunday, at least for some fans in our town, the answer isn’t so clear.