Monday, September 24, 2007

Here We Go Again?

I have a bad feeling about this season. I get the sense Bengals fans are still hung over from the way we closed out last season. Even worse, I think the players are too. I hang out with some pretty dedicated fans and only three games into the campaign, there is a sense that our team is going to let us down again. This is the first time I've felt this since Marvin (the man we thought was going to be our savior) arrived.

Yesterday, we lost our second close game in a row. While we only lost 24-21 to a good team, on the road in a formidable place, it's the way we lost (again) that is so frustrating. The offense played a pretty good game. Carson lit it up, TJ lit it up, Chad lit it up. The defense played surprisingly well. But, just a few big plays tipped the game in Seattle's favor. This time it was the special teams that killed us. The 80 yard return of the opening kick off put us in a hole early. The decision to go for two after we scored our last touchdown and were up by 4 mystified me. Then, Shayne Graham kicks the ball out of bounds. For an NFL kicker, that is the absolute worst thing you can possibly do on a kick off. But, the decision to go for two ended up being a moot point since the special teams put the final nail in our coffin by fumbling the kick-off, taking the ball out of Carson's hands. Given the way Carson and the wide outs were playing, we had a good chance of driving down the field with 1:00 left and tying this thing up.

I feel for the coaching staff. How do you coach players to stop making bone-head plays? Some times it looks as if the Bengals just don't want to win. Seattle three just a few bombs that ended up being the difference in the game. The defense would play great for so long, then just take a play off. Guys, in the NFL, that's the difference between winning and losing.

So, now we're 1-2 having lost two close games. Squandered opportunities. One team we should have beaten soundly. And, one team we had a chance to steal a game from. Which hurts more? And, next it's New England on Monday night. As hard as it was to believe we had a prayer against Seattle, it's harder to believe we can beat New England.


julieunplugged said...

I think we need to just stop thinking about play-offs. It's got everyone's attention on the wrong thing. I think that the Bengals thought the Browns was a "gimme" game and they didn't look like they thought they had to win it.

The whole city is holding its breath every week doing calculations that will get us to the play-offs. I'd rather the team get its focus on improved play every week.

The offense is fine (better than last year, I think). It's the defense. So Carson has nothing to apologize for (he might have a lot to rant about in the locker room - he gets the *worst* field position every week in the league and is expected to do miracles when the def. screws up). TJ, Chad... They are fine. Even the O-Line looks good.

Really, this is not just "mental mistakes." There's a hole in the def. (several). So now we have to stop "worrying" and start watching for signs of change and improvement. If those don't come... then I don't know. Hard to be a fan with a team that has this much talent and no chance.

The Pats are going 19-0 so we'll lose Monday... in front of the country.

brian said...

No doubt we have holes, many due to injuries. Injuries happen. But, after so many, one has to wonder about conditioning on this team.

Yes, everyone talks about the playoffs, even before the season begins. But, that's what it's about in the NFL, particularly if you're a team that just can't seem to get there. We're tired of sitting at home in January. There's something thrilling about a playoff game that Bengals fans want to experience more than once every couple of decades.

There is a sense of panic (I have to admit I have it too). I've been a Bengals fan for close to 35 years now and I'm tired of having to remember back to the days when we were good. When Marvin came, it gave us that glimmer of hope. Two years ago, we came so close to making a run in the playoffs. Now that we've seen the Promised Land, we're ready to cross over and become one of the contenders in the league.

Let's hope we can pull off a shocker on Monday night. Stranger things have happened.


julieunplugged said...

Well I like your optimism and enthusiasm. I'm a much more recent fan so you get to have your frustrations for sure. :) 35 years includes the 1990s - that's commitment. :)

Here's hoping they beat the Pats, but I just doubt it.