Hey everyone! I am looking forward to our critical matchup next Sunday. Feel free to leave any questions about the Bengals below (most of my writeup here is copied from an old fanpost).
This season has been absolutely wild for the Bengals, and has taken a toll on us Bengals fans. All in all though, most of us are happy that we're 8-4 and very much in play for not only the third seed but also the second seed since we've beaten the Patriots head-to-head and thus hold the tiebreaker over them.
Here are a few quick points about our season:
-We've lost 12 players to IR/IR-recall/PUP this year. 8 of those are key contributors, including the consensus best defensive tackle in the NFL (pre-injury, obviously), Geno Atkins, and one of the top corners in the league for a while now and by far our top corner, Leon Hall. Also, starting LG Clint Boling suffered a season-ending injury last Sunday.
-We have perhaps the most polarizing QB in the league Andy Dalton. Bengals fans either like him or don't like him. On CJ, it's been extremely divisive. Of course all Bengals fans would prefer to see him play on an elite level, but the difference is that they either accept his limitations as a non-elite QB or they don't. I happen to fall in the former category. Dalton is who he is, and there isn't a better option. He'll be our starting QB next year as well and could very well be extended this offseason (possibly on the cheap) whether any of us likes it or not. In terms of comparisons, I view Dalton as Jay Cutler with a weaker arm and better intangibles. They produce eerily similar stat lines and are both maddeningly inconsistent. Take one look at their game logs over the years and you'll see while their overall stats are average to above-average (QB rating in the mid to high 80's, etc.), they rarely play like it on a game-by-game basis. They'll mostly have games with a QB rating either in the 100's or in the 50's-60's, which for better or for worse separates them from other consistently average QB's such as Chad Pennington. For the 2013 season, Dalton's projected stat line (which will likely play out) is approximately 4200 yards, 61.5 comp%, 7.3 ypa, 30 TD, 20 INT, 5 fumbles, 85 passer rating. I.e., lots of yards, TD's, and turnovers. That screams "Jay Cutler."
-Our defense, which has been ranked in the top-7 for 4 of the past 5 years (currently #6 for 2013), is chock-full of undrafted young guys, aging veterans who were signed off the street, and former draft busts acquired via trade at a very low price. We also have defensive linemen from Angola and Estonia.
-The Bengals were pretty well-hyped heading into this year, with CBS Sports and SI senior NFL writers both picking the Bengals to go to the SB, and being featured on Hard Knocks.
Here's a look at our game results this year so far:
Week 1: Bengals own a double-digit lead in the second half, but blow it due to multiple turnovers deep in Bears territory and multiple bonehead personal fouls, lose 24-21 on the road
Week 2: Bengals rookies Bernard and Eifert run wild, Bengals force a few wacky turnovers as we win 20-10 over the Steelers
Week 3: Bengals become the first team in NFL history to be up by 14+ and be down by 16+ in the same game and still win, over the Rodgers-led Packers. There were 8 turnovers in the game. The game-winning score was a long fumble return when the Packers were just trying to burn some clock and tack on another score (here's the wild radio call: Newman Fumble Return TD ). Final score: 34-30.
Week 5: Bengals win 13-6 over the Patriots in a very close physical game, in which an absolute MONSOON occurred at exactly the right time when the Patriots were trying to tie it up with 2 minutes left. You pretty much cannot see the field when rewatching game film.
Worse now pic.twitter.com/UqjZweNuQs— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) October 6, 2013
Weeks 6-7: Bengals win by the exact same score over the Bills and Lions, 27-24, both on the road, both on walk-off field goals. The first one came in OT, the second one was an epic 54-yarder that was barely good as time expired in regulation. Thad Lewis torched the Bengals in the first one, while Calvin Johnson had the NFL's catch of the year in the second one:
Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) October 20, 2013
Week 8: If not for a few wide-open overthrows/drops and the offense letting up on the gas pedal by the middle of the third quarter, the Bengals would have beaten the Jets by an approximate score of 77-9 (final score: 49-9)
Weeks 9-10: Bengals lose in OT in two consecutive games. The first one came on a walk-off safety by the Dolphins, the third time in NFL history a game has ended on a safety. Rookie Giovani Bernard had the NFL's run of the year in that game. The second one came after the Bengals had a crazy Hail Mary TD pass in a blustering wind as time expired in regulation, the NFL's luckiest play of the year.
Giovani Bernard Unreal Run On Thursday Night Football
Andy Dalton Hail Mary TD vs Ravens 11/10/13
Week 11: The Bengals score a franchise-record 31 points in the second quarter despite just 108 yards of offense, to beat the Browns. In that quarter, the Bengals set up those points via a beast-mode interception, two blocked punts, a fumble return, and a punt return.
Week 13: The Bengals running game goes off and the defense forces timely turnovers as they win at the Chargers, 17-10.
So with all of these wacky games plus the preseason hype and injuries and the Dalton debate beaten like a dead horse, that's pretty much the half of it for Bengals fans. Don't be surprised if Sunday's game fits right in.