November 7, 2011
Three years ago the Bengals were halfway to a defeated season, with a tragically disappointing 0-8 start. Oh what a difference three years makes.
Since their 1988 Superbowl run, this is the first time the Bengals have won five straight games. Tied atop the AFC North division with the Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals hold an improbable, yet real, 6-2 record.
With everything that has gone on this season — from the NFL lockout, to the Carson Palmer/Mike Brown who will blink first contest, to blacked out home games, it seemed more than likely the Bengals were headed on the Road to Nowhere. But something has changed inside the jungle. Led by rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals are playing with a hunger and drive that is unmatched. In the Palmer era we went to the playoffs twice, and there was no denying we had talent, but what we always lacked was the “it” factor, the utter will for victory. What turns potential into promise? It is will — that special potion of passion mixed with ambition. And Andy Dalton alongside A.J. Green are pumping the Bengals clubhouse full of it.
Palmer always had skill, no doubt, but his failures mounted in his inability to overcome the evil empire (a.k.a. Mike Brown). He knew how to ride a wave into success, but when those waves turned to tropical storms, Palmer lost the ambition to conquer all obstacles in his way. Hey, I’m not blaming the guy. Playing for a team that is impoverished of the desire to win championships does not bode well for any locker room camaraderie. So Palmer did what he had to… cut his losses. We wish him the best of luck, same to Chad Ocho Cinco and TJ Houshman-something.
This brings me to yesterday… I missed the first half of the game, but as I turned on the boob tube for the second, I was enthralled with the action. At the time the Bengals were down 17-7. Not to worry, the Jerome Simpson 15 yard touchdown reception trimmed the Titans lead to three. At the end of the third, leading into the fourth quarter, the Bengals moved the ball 75 yards down the field. Chomping 6:55 minutes off the clock, the drive ended in quick, but dramatic fashion, with an Andre Caldwell five yard touchdown pass off of a Dalton bullet like throw. Precision passing. Red zone conversions. Keeping cool. I likey… I likey a lot.
Final score: Bengals 24, Titans 17.
Dalton plays with a youthful spirit that seems to dismiss the Brown family baggage for exactly what it is… baggage. The Bengals are nothing without their fair share of problems. When it comes time for game day however, the only task concerning the players is getting the job done, and Dalton, my friends, is getting it done.
The Solid Rock Church off of I-75 may have lost its touchdown Jesus, but Who Dey nation has found a viable replacement.
Can I get an Amen?to top ↑