NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 06: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass the ball during the NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 6, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Bengals won 24-17. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
When I first read Jamison Hensley's headline on the ESPN AFC North blog, I wasn't sure what he meant when writing "Bengals' dramatic turnaround lacks drama." My initial reaction was, are you kidding me? Four come-from-behind wins, mostly in the fourth quarter. If there's a list for most dramatic team during Sunday afternoon in the NFL, the Bengals are miles ahead of everyone else. My weekly impromptu doctor visits after Bengals games are now being scheduled.
The reality is Hensley's posting talks more about the lack of drama off the field than on it.
The Bengals' turnaround season -- going from the second-fewest wins in the NFL last season to the most in the AFC at the midway point of the season -- started when the team turned over the roster. The focus is no longer on divas (receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens). It's on division titles.
Dalton, the even-keeled leader with a will stronger than his arm, has made the Who Dey Nation forget about Carson Palmer, the franchise quarterback who no longer wanted to be with the franchise. Green, a promising touchdown machine, is more concerned about reaching the end zone than how to celebrate after he gets there. Big names such as Tank Johnson and Roy Williams were shed from the defense, which began the season with six new starters.
Fewer egos in the locker room has resulted in more wins on the field. Cincinnati (6-2) has matched its best start since 1988, when the team advanced to the Super Bowl, and has put together its longest winning streak (five) since that same season. In fact, the Bengals have as many fourth-quarter comebacks this season (four) as total wins last season as they head into Sunday's showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3).
It's a great posting, detailing Cincinnati's fundamental changes that we witnessed this offseason. And the best part from a Cincy Jungle perspective? The games are really all we're focusing on anymore -- and none of us could have asked for anything better.