Back in 2005, a streaking 4-1 Bengals team met an overmatched 2-3 Texans team. The Texans were a team mired in mediocrity, never having found their way since entering the league in 2002. The Bengals were a team on the rise with a dynamic offense headed up by soon-to-be Pro Bowler Carson Palmer and surrounded by an outspoken and talented receiving core. Things were meshing for the Bengals, aside from their defense of course. Still trying to find its way under "defensive mastermind" Marvin Lewis, the defense basically relied on the offense to outscore opponents. As we all know, that didn't quite work out, albeit a solid effort. The season ended with the Bengals limping into the playoffs, and Carson eventually boarding the infamous shame-mobile and being carted off the field with a shredded ACL. Only two plays into the playoffs, and the offensive juggernaut and season were shut down.
So, why am I bringing up that Texans game, anyway? Well, I vividly remembering watching that Texans game and being hopelessly frustrated the entire time. Sure, the defense was playing well enough, but the offense was sputtering and not putting an inferior team away. Final score: Bengals 16 Texans 10. Yes, we won. That's all fine and dandy, but there's no reason a punchline like the Texans should've hung around like that. I've watched what seems like 43 trillion games in which the Bengals were the punchline, and the opponent impolitely put its cleat on our team's collective throat. However, this game was an exception to what proved to be a season of potent scoring and lackluster defense. Which would you prefer?
So, who was really confident going into the playoffs this season? I suppose several of us, myself included, were foolishly confident. Big mistake. The team scored over 20 points in only six games during the regular season. They didn't score a second half touchdown in six consecutive games (unreal). Carson threw for over 300 yards once all season (a loss to the Chargers in which our offense looked semi-competent and the game was actually entertaining). Awful teams like Kansas City, Detroit, Cleveland, and Oakland stuck around in games and in Oakland's case, actually won. Wins are wins, and I understand that, but the frustration and anxiety expended by the possibility of having to watch shit teams attempt onside kicks at the ends of games is unforgivable. Finally, the fact that the Bengals had to wait until the end of overtime to beat the worst team in the NFL at the moment (Browns) is straight disgusting. That game made me want to dropkick the TV.
Everything came to a head in the Jets game last Saturday. The Bengals had been sliding along the floor on their asses for the majority of the season and barely eeking out games. They deserved to lose and we, the Bengals supporting public, were appropriately left unsatisfied by the game, the season, and the team as a whole. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather watch a viscous offensive stallion rampage teams and leave it up to an okay defense to hold its ground. If it doesn't happen, that sucks, but at least I got to watch a goddamn entertaining football game. Those were few and far between this season. Just fucking entertain me. That should be your business. Being content can be a dangerous thing. AFC North champs? Big whoop. Hosting a playoff game? Pffffft. Yeah, you best believe I'm still bitter.
Suck it, Bengals.