July 25, 2017

The Infinite Sadness

Oh, the torment bred in the race, the grinding scream of death and the stroke that hits the vein, the haemorrhage none can staunch, the grief, the curse no man can bear. ~ Aeschylus, The Libation Bearers

There are some feelings that aren’t easily described, but I definitely felt them today.  I didn’t expect to feel them, but they crept up on me and I just can’t quite shake them.  When Andy Dalton’s pass was gobbled up by rookie defensive end J.J. Watt, I felt a little twinge of panic, but that isn’t what I am talking about.  After Andre Johnson slipped past cornerback Pacman Jones, then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It is the feeling of infinite sadness, of opportunity lost, a crashing down that can only occur when you raise your expectations to a higher level only to see them shatter and fall at your feet. 

Every year when Kentucky is eliminated from the NCAA tournament, I feel a deep sadness, but the depths of despair are notably deepest when I really think we have a chance to win it all.  With the Bengals, it has been a rare treat to get to the postseason; this was only the third in 20 years.  I had low expectations entering the season, but the stars aligned to get us there and with what I felt was a favorable matchup.  I didn’t expect to have a shot at the Super Bowl, but I thought we could compete and win this game.  As we entered the fourth quarter, we still had a shot.  As we reached a climatic 4th down play that we needed to keep our dreams alive, I still held hope that somehow this team would keep fighting.  Seconds later, all hope was lost.

It is the realization that the dream is dead and somehow the lump in your throat bridges the gap between your thoughts and the sick feeling in your stomach.  To make matters worse, former Tennessee running back Arian Foster broke off a big gainer that put the final nail in the coffin.  Bengals players were going through the motions at that point, but for me it was unbearable to see his ridiculous haircut and stupid bow in the end zone.  As the city of Houston celebrates their victory and dreams that they can defy the odds and end up in the SubPar Bowl like Green Bay did last season, the city of Cincinnati has to share the feeling that I just can’t quite shake tonight.  Though the ending is the same as it has been every season I have watched my beloved Bengals, this year seems to hurt far more than I expected it to.  If anyone thinks of a cure, let me know…


  1. I think the cure is to realize how bright the future is. They have a healthy, talented quarterback, a dynamic receiver and a very good defensive line. Plus they get Jordan Shiplley, Keith rivers, and Rodderick Muckelroy back from injury. Dontay Moch might have his migraines in check and the team has ample draft picks to improve the o-line and secondary. The arrow is pointing up after an overachieving season.

  2. I feel your pain Timm. With a house full of friends and family last evening as the season ended, I found it increasingly difficult to speak because i wasnt sure if i was going to cry or start with a list of expletives that would make Samuel Jackson blush. As i watched the 1st half of the Saints/Lions game it became increasingly evident to me that a tweet Suebs had sent out close to the end of our game made more sense than I originally thought:

    “I’d like to see some changes, Paul Alexander needs to go been O line coach long enough. Need new ideas on how to protect our franchise.”

    At first glance i thought well it cant be just the coaches fault, but as i watched the offensive juggernauts of the Saints and Lions go at it, it became increasingly evident how much time Brees and Stafford had in the pocket, how huge the gaps were for the backs, big runs are a result of the back being able to hit the hole full speed because their hole is there and they dont have to push the lineman out of their way. Then both QBs are able to pick apart the secondary on passing plays because they have what seems like all day in the pocket. after seing this and digesting Suebs comment a little I began to think he is right. Player wise i dont think any of their lineman are leaps and bounds bettter than ours so it must be scheme, as in coaching scheme.

    I believe our D is solid except for a few downfalls in the secondary and no Im not talking about Nelson, I have acctually became more of a fan of his the last few games, both personal fouls in the last 2 games were bogus in my opinion. If initial contact is made with the shoulder incidental helmet to helmet contact should be expected not penilized. the guy is making tackles as you would expect a saftey to tackle. when he lines you up, you get destroyed, good safety play in my book.

    I think the problem is our LB’s tendancy to attck the LOS rather than excersize a little patience. Both of Fosters HUGE cutbacks last night found all of our LBs mixed up in the mash of linemen un available to defend the cutback. This is also the reason I think the TEs and WRs can burn us so bad in short completions over the middle.

    I have great hopes for this team in the next few years and think the playoffs will become a normal thing for us rather than a sweet bonus. The pieces are there and with a few subtle scheme changes we could be huge.

    Not sure about player changes and FA as well as Draft needs at this point I havent thought a whole lot about it yet.
    But sadly watching the closing moments of last nights game I could see in Big Ceds eyes and body language, he had played his last game as a Bengal. He looked as sick as i felt, I still think he is a good back but what do you expect a guy to do only getting 7 touches. He is a feature back and runs best when he is used that way. Yes I am a Benson fan some will say he looked disinterested I say he felt as much disapointment as we did if not more.

    Next year will be amazing I trust in Lewis and am looking forward to the domination these youngsters will be dishing out not only in the AFC North but in the league over the next few years.

    • yeah, your first paragraph hits home. Now imagine the same feelings, all while sitting in Reliant stadium surrounded by a bunch of Texans fans.


  3. The Bengals line struggles are largely a result of not investing enough in that position. Nate Livings was an undrafted free agent. Same for Kyle Cook, although I think he’s pretty good. Mike McGlynn was claimed off waivers. I still think the greatest failure of the season was not putting Andre Smith at left guard and starting Anthony Collins at right tackle and I’ll get into that in another post.

  4. It seems like we need a new mix of X’s and O’s and Jimmys and Joes. I definitely would like to see the big G from Stanford fall to the 17th pick. Great comments guys.