July 20, 2017

Question from a reader – Is this a letdown season?

Why do the Bengals always disappoint in the big games? It seems like just as we start buying into what their doing they let us down. It seems like our injuries are starting to pile up and so is the pressure to win. Do you think they will tank these next 4 games or put the doubters to rest.

Lee, It does seem like the Bengals fail to rise to the occasion in big games. In the first meeting, a lot of fans still expected the Bengals to get handled by the Steelers. The Bengals did well in that game and were still in it in the last drive. So I think expectations for the second meeting were big by most Bengal fans. We all know what happened, the Bengals were beat, bad.

I also think that Sunday was a bad game. Having the penalties negate the firs TD and field goal put this young team in a hole that they were unable to climb out of. Part of that is the players, part is the coaching.

If I had to answer with one word, I would say coaching. Coaching seems to be the reason the Bengals come choke in these games. Take for example the two starts against Pitt. In the first, the Bengals came out ultra conservative. It seemed they were ok with playing close to the line and punting rather than risking a turnover or momentum gainer for the defense. They were quickly down 14 points. In the second the Bengals attacked with AJ Green on a long pass and it seemed that they had Pitt on their heels. (then the penalties).

I don’t know if this is the way Marvin coaches or not, but it seems he is conservative in big games. In the last 3 seasons we would see the Bengals very cautious in the play calling until they were down by at least 10 points. We have seen a lot this season of the play calling protecting Dalton with heavy runs or short passes. Not until the game is critical were we seeing Dalton attack. This is why many games have been closer than they needed to be.

If you let the opponent hang around by being comfortable with a small lead, you risk losing the game. This happens to the Bengals under Marvin Lewis far too often.

For the second part of the question I think the Bengals know their backs are against the wall. If they win out, they are in the playoffs. Lose a game and you are no longer in control. I don’t care about the doubters. The doubters can’t change the product on the field. By doubters I assume you either mean the media or morons like the WhoDeyRevolution commenter’s. The media talking heads do not know this team, they think they know this team. The WDR brainiacs are too busy being miserable to understand what this team is. Like I said, I don’t care about either one of these groups.

This weeks game is the biggest of the next four. The season could potentially end on Sunday with a loss at home to a beat up Houston. Sure, Houston is facing a bunch of injuries, but they are still a first place / playoff team. This Sunday has become a must win for the Bengals. Then they need to take care of the two games against St. Louis and Arizona. You hope the final game does not matter, but if it does, the Bengals are going to have to beat the Ravens to make it to the postseason.

In short, no more letdowns.



  1. “Take for example the two starts against Pitt. In the first, the Bengals came out ultra conservative”

    A fake end-around 50 yard pass is conservative? The coaching staff had the right plan in place to start that game and the players failed to execute.

  2. Vince, that was the second game. When I said in the first, I meant the first game. Look back at the game book for that game and you see that the Bengals came out really conservative.


  3. I understand Lee’s feelings. Given where the Bengals were four weeks ago, it would be disappointing for the Bengals to end up missing the playoffs. That said, I completely disagree with the premise of the question.

    Back up another eight weeks. How would you have felt on September 10th had I told you that in three months the Bengals would be 7-5 and jockeying for a spot in the playoffs? You would have been giddy or (more likely) laughed in my face. Very few of us, myself included, expected anything close to this in the preseason.

    This is not a letdown year at all. This is a building year.

  4. I agree with Bill. There’s a possibility that the team misses the playoffs, but even still it’s not a lost year. The team has found a franchise QB, a game-changing wideout, and learned Carlos Dunlap is legit when healthy. Even if the final fourth of the season is a loss, it’s still a win.