As you may or may not be aware, the Bengals have clinched the AFC North and will be going to the playoffs for the second time this decade. While it is not ideal to only make the playoffs 20% of the time, that rate under Marvin Lewis is almost certainly one of the best for any coach in Bengals history. Chad Johnson needs just over 70 more yards to break 10,000 on the career - I'd love to see him finish that off this season.
Without further delay, here are the major stories from the internets about our playoff-bound Bengals.
- Here's a question for you: Who would you rather play if the first round, Denver or New York? Or Baltimore? Or Pittsburgh? What a convoluted playoff picture in the AFC.
- Post-game quotes from Bengals.com.
- Coaching through tragedy, as Clark Judge points out in his weekly "judgements" column, doesn't Marvin Lewis have to be a coach of the year candidate? I mean, I think we all know he has flaws - like calling timeouts - but this team was 4-11-1 last year and has suffered immensely off the field this year, yet continues to stick together and perform. That's worth something, right?
"No [Gatorade] shower, no hat," Lewis said. "We want to earn another hat. There are two more to earn. It's a little different atmosphere than it was a few years ago (2005). This group knows there are more of them."
- James Walker talks about AFC playoff scenarios. I'll admit, I'm a little confused by the whole thing. I just know I'd rather see Denver and NYJ make it than Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
- The Cincinnati Enquirer's game day photo gallery is exceptional this week.
- All of our favorite writers from the Enquirer's sports page contributed recapitulations of the Bengals triumphant effort over the Chiefs that secured a playoff berth. Joe Reedy, first, gives his thoughts, pointing out that it took a 4th "Cardiac Cat" drive to seal the deal.
- Paul Daugherty says this Bengals squad is more mature than the 2005 club that lost Carson Palmer on its first offensive snap in the Wildcard round. They have to be after the tragedy they have faced as a team this year. Do you think any other team in the NFL is as familial as the Bengals? These guys really have each others' back. Daugherty praises Dhani Jones (maybe we should do that a bit more around these parts, I heard his name a lot yesterday) and concludes that the Bengals are "good."
Speaking of good, how far does "good" get you in the playoffs? I gues what I'm asking is, do you think this team can win the Superbowl?
- Chick Ludwig recaps the emotions that Bengals fans have endured nearly every Sunday afternoon this year, but reminds us that we're capable of getting hot and running the playoff table.
- Joe Reedy also featured Cedric Benson's record-setting efforts this year. 6 100-yard games. Talk about turning a career around. Mike Brown the Redeemer, we have to give you credit.
- Chris Henry is still close to our, and the Bengals' thoughts and hearts. CNati.com's Paul Dehner revisits Henry's impact on the Bengals victory over the Chiefs yesterday.
- Dehner also focuses on Leon Hall's bounceback week. If the guy has an achilles heel, I guess it's his height. But I still think he's one of the best in the NFL. My Pro Bowl Ballot on the defensive side goes something like: Domata Peko, Leon Hall, Dhani Jones, Johnathan Joseph. What do you think?
- Here's the always-phenomenal CNati photogallery of the week.
- C. Trent Rosencrans notes, among other things, that the Bengals have been flexed to Sunday night against the Jets. One thing this means is that if the Patriots win during the day, the Bengals probably rest players in the evening contest because the game becomes meaningless. I'd expect that, if the Pats close down #3, we'll send out starters for a quarter or two to work on some things in a live game, then shut it down until the post season.
- Dehner points out that despite first-half problems rushing the ball, and despite the Chiefs persistent and predictable run blitz, the Bengals ran the ball with Cedric Benson 20 times for 99 yards in the second half. It wasn't pretty or all too consistent, but we've got to give Ced props... again.
- Finally, to conclude this behemoth of a Bengals Banter, here's C. Trent's thoughts on clinching the playoffs and his recap of the game.