Come on Cincinnati, you have been here before. You know, your team plays poorly all season then, out of nowhere, strings together a few wins just to show the fans that next season could be grand. Don’t buy it, unless changes are made (one in particular has to be the firing of Bob Bratkowski) the Bengals will not be a much improved team next year.
However, let’s just say that Mike Brown decides to give Lewis a little more power. Let him make personnel decisions and tweak his coaching staff. Then let’s say that our defense stays mostly intact. Could this team be competitive next year? I think yesterday may show that the young talent on the Bengals deserves some time to play and could carry this team.
The Bengals didn’t play a bum team yesterday. They played the number one defense in the NFL, they played the hottest team in the league that had a ton riding on the outcome of the game. You can be sure that they got the Chargers best and the Bengals made them look silly. Coming into Sunday the San Diego Chargers were the best defense in the NFL. They were giving up the fewest passing yards and total yds in the NFL and the second fewest rushing yds. The Bengals, as a team, put up over 100 yds rushing and also did major damage through the air on Carson Palmers 150+ passer rating.
So let’s look at some of the stars of the game:
Carson Palmer – his performance was outstanding, no mistakes.
Rey Maualuga – great D and a huge interception and return to change the game.
Jerome Simpson – 124 yds receiving with 2 td’s. Whose fault is it that this kid has not been on the field?
Jermaine Gresham – Another solid game from a great tight end.
Jordan Shipley – Another great game for him.
Bernard Scott – Tough yds to put the game away late.
Anthony Collins & Andrew Whitworth – As the bookends of the line, these guys gave up 0 sacks to the top sack team in the NFL.
Here is my fear: that the Bengals ass, I mean brass is going to see the improvement from the younger guys and decide “Hey, things look good, let’s not make any changes and we can win next year”. This would be a huge mistake. At the very least, Bob Bratkowski needs to be fired. To have this kind of talent and play so many games not to lose instead of to win should be a fireable offense. Not opening the playbook until the team is 10 points down all season because you are afraid of mistakes is not acceptable.
More than likely though, Marvin is gone. I think it will be his choice to leave, and although I may have called for his head this season after some of the wonderful Bengal performances, that could be bad for the team. My hope now is that Mike Brown caves to Marvin and allows him the control to change this team. I think yesterday proves that the Bengals in some ways are moving in a positive direction with the way the youth can step in and play for this team. I just wish it was week 3 instead of week 16.