Its funny how life unfolds, how one single game of football reflects ones entire life. Dec 17th of 1989 at the age 9 years old I was sitting with my father watching his beloved Cincinnati Bengals. To most fans that day isn’t really a memorable occasion. I’m not like most fans, that is the day my dream started. As I watched the game that day I scribbled notes on a piece of paper, calculated stats for the first time in my life. Those scribbles that day ended up being my first ever published sports article.
It would go one to be featured in my elementary school’s newspaper, the headline that day ” Welcome to the Jungle ” The story that day was the Bengals 61-7 destruction of the Houston Oilers. Those Bengals would go on to finish 8-8 that season , and Bengals fans have been suffering ever since.
Sure they have had brief moments of excitement and have even thrilled there fans at times. But this season is different, The Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 are doing more than winning football games. They are taking their fans back to a better place in time.
I predicted that the Bengals would finish this season 9-7 or 10-6 and be a wildcard team in the AFC playoff picture. This team is better than I ever imagined. The Bengals may not win pretty, but they win. It seems that this team has finally learned how to reach out and take victory. The first 5 games of 2009 all came down to the wire, and the Bengals found a way to win. This team got off to an amazing 4-1 start before they suffered defeat at the hands of a Houston team that I also predicted would be 10-6.
Today the Bengals took another step forward. Today they imposed their will on the opposition. They came out today to make a statement, and what a statement it was. The NFL better realize this team is for real. Just look at what they did to the Bears today. They dominated on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The Cincinnati offense put on a clinic against the Bears today. Carson Palmer was almost perfect on the day going 20-24 for 233 yards and 5 touchdowns in 3 quarters of work. Chad Ochocinco was targeted on 11 attempts, catching 10 balls for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. The only time Chad was targeted and didn’t make the catch resulted in a defensive penalty.
Cedric Benson proved his point to all the doubters in Chi-town as he ran wild against the Bears gaining 189 yards on 37 attempts and scoring a touchdown. The Cincinnati Bengals offense showed today they have the athletic ability to create matchup problems against any defense in the league. If this team can avoid the injury bug they should be an exciting offense in the second half of the season.
The Bengals defense looked great again this week. They created 4 turnovers and seemed to steal the heart and sole of the Chicago offensive players. Chicago was behind early and never could get Matt Forte involved. Forte had just 24 yards on 6 rushing attempts. Jay Cutler was 26- 37 for 251 yards 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.
The Bengals defense is young and very athletic, they seem to be getting better every week. This was the kind of game that can spark that Cincinnati defense. A game like that breads confidence. If that defense continues to develop at the rate they are now I would not want to line up against that in 6-8 weeks.
Cincinnati will have a bye next week, and currently sit at 5-2 and 1st in the division. They come out of the bye week with 2 division games against Baltimore and at Pittsburgh. Those games are followed up with games against Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit. I don’t look for Cincinnati to sweep the division , but it could happen. Cincinnati could be 10-2.