Last week, the Baltimore Ravens humiliated the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium by a lopsided 20-0 score. Tonight the Bengals have a chance to redeem themselves by hosting and defeating the Houston Texans who also lost last week 29-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans may even start rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson. Both teams are 0-1.
Although it’s only the second game of the season, every game holds much significance since the season only has 16 games. A telling statistic is that teams never want to start 0-2. Since 2007, 75 teams have started 0-2 and only eight (9.4%) have made it to the playoffs. So if history is any indicator, either the Texans or Bengals won’t be making it to the playoffs this season.
But then based on how both played last Sunday, you have to wonder if either team even deserves to play in the post-season. And if either team make it to the playoffs, it’s unlikely either club will be playing in the Super Bowl. I tried to watch the Bengals game last week and had to turn it off. It was just embarrassing. I am not a fan but I expected to see a great game since the Bengals and Ravens are often a good match and because they are division rivals.
Although Andy Dalton committed five turnovers, I still say Bengals fans shouldn’t burn their team’s jerseys just yet. It was just one game. Also keep in mind these guys haven’t played any significant football since last year. And I exclude pre-season games because starters don’t play too much to avoid any serious injuries. Let’s also remember that football is a game of inches and precise timing. Therefore, teams need time to get back into a rhythm.
But if they lose to the Texans then fans have a right to be concerned since the Bengals would be 0-2. Somehow, I think the club will find a way to defeat the Texans. I find it interesting that many Bengals fans would jump ship after just one game, but that’s typical of Bengals fans. But you cannot really blame them. Let’s take a look at some of the club’s history under head coach Marvin Lewis.
Lewis has been the head coach for more than a decade and has never won a playoff game. How many other owners would allow this? None. Second, Lewis has only worked with two quarterbacks. One was Carson Palmer and the other is Andy Dalton. This means that once the Bengals decide on a quarterback, that’s it. No one else gets an opportunity to beat out the starting quarterback. Fans will never find out if the Bengals have a better option than Andy Dalton. It’s been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting the same result. The Bengals just aren’t known for making changes which explains why they haven’t won a playoff game since 1991.
Also, head coaches have a shelf life. Many are effective for only so many years. After awhile, they become white noise to players. Once this happens, a team needs to consider finding a new head coach. And all great coaches eventually get replaced. Anyone remember when Bill Belichick was the head coach for the Cleveland Browns? True story. Even he got himself fired. How humiliating must that have been to get fired by the Browns? Or how many fans can remember when Marvin Lewis was a stellar defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins?
Fans are calling for Lewis to be fired and Andy Dalton to be replaced by A.J. McCarron. Of course, Bengals fans know neither of these events will happen. I am probably among the majority of fans who think Lewis should have given McCarron an opportunity to compete for the starting job. Sometimes it’s good for a quarterback to have to look over his shoulder. Otherwise, he may become complacent. So how bad would Dalton have to be before Lewis sat him down? I am guessing he would almost have to forget how to play football before this would happen.
For now, most Bengals fans don’t see anything changing for the Bengals. They will likely win seven or eight games and miss the playoffs again. Last year, they only won six games and missed the playoffs. Ask yourself if the Bengals have done anything lately to indicate they will fare much better this season? It looks like the same club from last year. Most likely the Steelers or Ravens will win the division and the Bengals will arm wrestle the Browns for residency in the AFC North basement.
Stephen Hawking said “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” However, to adapt to change, a change has to be made. And that move can only be implemented from the Brown family. Sorry Bengals fans, but it’s going to be a long season.
Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.