Monday, November 3, 2008

Freaky Sunday.

How does one feel after their hometown football team starts the season 0-8 and then inexplicably wins a game? Not only did they win, but they looked like a legitimate football team in doing so. As Mo said, it was like "Freaky Friday" and before the game when Marvin and Jack shook hands they somehow switched places. Marvin was suddenly Jack and Jack was Marvin, it might be the only explanation as to what actually happened on Sunday.

I went through a range of emotions as I watched the game unfold. I was shocked, then elated, then confused, then a little sad, then angry, then frightened, then relieved, then melancholy, and finally content. I felt like a 50 year old woman going through menopause. Now let me go into detail and see if I can accurately capture what was going on to cause this whirlwind of emotions.


The Bengals scored first(pausing for dramatic effect)........That is right the Bengals managed to actually score a touchdown in the first quarter before the other team.I could not believe that the team that can not finish managed to finish, and in dramatic fashion none the less, a pass to Chad Johnson. Is it any wonder why Chad was so damn happy the whole game? He had his first multi-touchdown game since 2007! Then like the football gods were showing compassion to the team that they had forsaken all year the Bengals scored yet another touchdown. They were now up 14-0. I was now staring blankly at the T.V., drool running down my face, I must have looked like a complete invalid. You could have hit me over the head with a shovel and I am not sure I would have know what happened.


The Bengals go into halftime leading 14-3! Not only that but they looked like a legitimate football team in doing so. For the first time all year all gears were clicking, they looked like a well oiled machine instead of the 1970 jalopy p.o.s. that they had looked like all year to this point. It was like Marvin, Bob and Mike had all read my blog and decide to take my advise. They were running the ball and using the diamond in the ruff they had discovered in Cedric Benson and the line was blocking, the defense was getting to a somewhat mobile quarterback, the defensive ends were protecting the corners, the front seven were getting pressure, the corners were covering. I was so happy that I wanted to turn the game off at halftime and cherish what I had just seen afraid that Jack and Marvin were going to switch back at any minute and the Bengals were going to remember that they had not won a game all year and had no business winning this one.


It is not fair to put confusion here, since I was really confused the whole game. Where had this team been all year? Where was this crispness, passion, intensity, desire, fortitude? How can you lay the wood to a Jaguars team that is not that bad, but get stomped by a Houston team that is that bad? Why did the line suddenly want to run block for this game? Why did the corners suddenly want to cover? Why did the defensive line finally push back? What was it about November 2nd that got these guys fired up? Why did Chad Johnson suddenly want to catch the ball? Why did Marvin finally decide to coach? My head was spinning faster than that kid from "The Exorcist". I felt like I had just watch Dennis Miller do political coverage, I think my head was going to explode.

A little sad:

0-16 was looking like a fairy tale again. Ever since really getting into football I would always get really excited to see a team almost go 0-16. It is a lifelong dream to see it, to see a team so terrible that they can not win a game, and it here my team had a chance to pull it off. As I said before all the pieces were in place for it to happen to this team this year. A bad coach, a distracting prima dona receiver, a hurt pro bowl quarterback, an offensive line that would not block, a defensive line that could not get penetration, corners that would not cover, an owner that was apathetic, and fans that were tired of it all. And yet here we are in the third quarter and the Bengals were winning 21-6. The dream looked to be over for this team. The silver lining being that there was still another quarter of football to be played and I could see that the Lions were still about to lose, so 0-16 was still attainable.


The first thing that I got angry about was John Henderson trying to gouge the eyes out of Andrew Whitworth. That was a dirty move by a guy that I can imagine was just pissed that a horrible team was stomping a mud hole in their ass. My question is why would you pick a fight with the biggest offensive lineman out there? This is a guy that has to have two XXL jerseys stitched together to make a jersey that fits him. Why not pick a fight with Eric Ghiaciuc, he is the smallest one and tends to get pushed around pretty easy. Then I got more angry when both he and Henderson were thrown out of the game. I cannot wait for the NFL to go back and review the film, Whitworth was just trying to defend himself and save his eyes from being gouged out. Henderson had better be fined and suspended, and Whitworth had better not get fined at all. Then the Bengals dropped into the prevent defense. This actually pissed me off more than the result of the fight. I HATE when the Bengals do this, they go up on a team and let off the gas, they take their foot off the other teams throat, and every time they let that team back into the game. I have said it once and I will say it again, the only thing the prevent defense does is it prevents you from winning. Here the Bengals are, on the cusp of winning their first game and they want to go back to the same defense that allows teams to pick them apart, WHY??!!


The Jags scored off a special teams debacle, the only one of the day, but at the exact wrong time. Suddenly this was looking like the team that I knew all year. Defense of Swiss cheese, special teams making critical mistakes at the exact wrong times....OH NOESSSSS!! Now the Jags are a two point conversion away from tying this game and forcing an overtime of which there is no way Marvin is able to keep up this charade that long. As the jags line up for the conversion I feel like "The Tale Tell Heart" is in my throat. The epicenter of my confusion was now, do I want the Jags to get it and force that inevitable loss? Do I want my beloved Bengals to finally get that first win? AGHHHHHHHH. Thankfully the Jags inept offense makes the choice for me. You have Jones-Drew, the little battering ram, in the backfield and you don't even play action with him? Instead the telegraph the pass and do not get the conversion. The game is not over, however, and you know the onside kick is coming. There I sat sweating bullets, gnawing on fingernails, just waiting for that other shoe to drop, just waiting for the Bengals to officially blow this like they have all year. Alas, they recover the kick!


The Bengals recover the kick and do what any smart team would do, they run the ball three straight times, under the secure hands of Cedric Benson, and force Jacksonville to spend their timeouts. I have to preface that with, what any smart team would do, because that is not one of the Bengals mantras. So after giving Jacksonville the ball back with 11 seconds I can breathe again, for what seems like the first time since the end of the third quarter. I can enjoy the futility of another team trying to overcome bad coaching, bad play calling, meltdowns, and bad play clock management. So weird to watch a game wear the shoe was very clearly on the other foot.


I was happy and sad. Happy to finally see a win, happy to see the Bengals perform the way I thought they should all year, happy too see veterans play for some pride and the young kids play with some hunger, happy to not have to bitch about all the same shit again this week(I was running out of stuff to say). Sad that the dream of 0-16 was gone, sad that Marvin probably saved his job, sad that Mike now thinks that everything is OK, sad that John Henderson was not decapitated, sad that despite our best effort we barely won this game, sad that Marvin will go back to being Marvin and now has a reason to talk down to all the fans and media because his team finally won. Strange not to get to extreme with emotion after going through half the season win less and mentally preparing yourself for 0-16 and then to see them eek out a win somehow, but how do you get too crazy when this could easily be a fluke? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.


It took the rest of the day, but I think I am OK with losing the 0-16. It hurt me to have to root every week for the Bengals to lose, but I felt that I had to to see some changes made. Of course, after looking at it rationally there was no way that even 0-16 would get rid of Mike Brown and that is the source of the problem really. So, I will take this win and any other the Bengals can trip over this season and run with it. hell they might not win again, so not only am I content with it, I will relish in it. The next time the Bengals have to get run over by the Steelers I will go back to November 2nd in my mind and relive the one day the Bengals put it together and managed a win.

Points of interest:

  1. Dexter Jackson was not in the game at all. I am not saying that he was the problem all along, but the secondary did look better, more physical, faster without him. Note to Marvin, leave it that way.

  2. Pat Sims looked awesome again. Let that man play.

  3. John Henderson is a bitch.

  4. Cedric Benson looked awesome, thank god they finally saw what I was seeing and ran the ball with him more.

  5. Detroit is still win less, so there is still hope to see that 0-16!

  6. Chad Ocho Cinco kissed Marvin for the second time this season, I was uncomfortable.

Before this game I was actually thinking about what to focus on for this blog, my idea was going to be stop spending so much energy getting frustrated and angry at the Bengals and instead put all that energy into hating the Steelers. Being a Bengals fan I hate them anyway, but I figured since all my energy was being wasted on reiterating the Bengals faults, I wanted to put it to something productive. What prompted this was that ridiculous commercial about the NFL shop where it pans around someone living room and it is all decked out in Steeler crap, except for one lamp, and then it says, "What's with the lamp?" Thirty two teams in the NFL and they had to choose the Steelers. So, I saw that commercial and felt my blood pressure rise like something out of a Daffy Duck cartoon and thought to myself, "Self you should just watch Steelers games and enjoy when they get their asses handed to them." But, then the Bengals go out and have a game like this and I am hooked again for at least two weeks, or until I hear Marvin's creepy laugh during a press conference.


C.J. said...

So where do we go from here? I am a bit worried that people are going to blow this anomaly waaaaaaaaaay out of proportion.

It's only 1 win folks!

I know you have to start somewhere but you waited to start until half the season was completed. If the Bengals were a QB they would now have a 8:1 INT to TD ratio (and hell at least 5 of those were pick 6's).

Let's all be rational here and not get caught up in the fact that the Bengals are 1-0 in the second half. They were 0-8 in the first half and a bad team is a bad team is a bad team. The sooner we realize this the sooner we play the young kids in preparation for next year.

Cleveland Andy said...

CJ, isn't anomaly kind of a big word for you? Did you start doing crosswords?

you're right though. we see this every weeks, especially with winless teams. they're pissed because they're embarrassed that their team is the laughing stock of the league and they prepare and play harder than normal. Meanwhile, an average or good team overlooks the crappy team and think it will be a walk in the park, so they relax and get shocked by the enthusiasm and heart that they can't match. the Lions almost beat the Redskins two weeks ago.

Every team has peaks and valleys in terms of emotional highs and lows during a season. that's why we never see undefeated teams or winless teams. they just can't sustain that emotional high for 17 weeks.

the Bengals will probably end up winning 3 or 4 games this year, just like the best teams will end up winning 12 or 13, like the Titans and Giants.

Top-notch commentary. Who would've thought you'd be the compass for this particular blog?