Andy Dalton has now played against the 3 best Defenses in the league (without counting ours).
San francisco (5 point loss) Pittsburgh (7 point loss) and Baltimore (7 point loss). All, last minute losses that we brought upon ourselves.
For a rookie to go against those 3 defenses and play as good as he did and keep us in every freak'in game (with due credit going to the"USO") is absolutely amazing.
Believe me when I tell you that WE WILL beat Pitt & Balt the 2nd time around. And in a bittersweet way, it will be a blessing that we lost 2 close games to them in the fashion that we did (a true learning experience for us).
Our team has absolutely No Doubt now, that not only do we belong on the same field with Pitt & Balt., but that we can and will beat them next time around!
I give "Zimmer" and his "USO" defense a ton of credit for helping Andy develop so quickly to the NFL game. They say in order to be the best, you have to go up against the best consistently (need I say more)?
Think about what those close losses did for our confidence.
Not only did we commit numerous mistakes, but we were also w/o Some of our most talented players ie; Ray, Greasham, Hall, Leonard, Dunlap, AJ, etc. and we were still only a hair away and a botched Greasham ref call from winning those games.
Think about what those games meant to Andy and and this "2nd youngest team in the NFL". We now "KNOW" that we absolutely "BELONG" and that we can play with anybody!
Think about Dalton not being not being in "AWE" as I'm sure he was that 1st go around against these storied teams of his youth.
From everything I've seen of this rookie, He seems to learn from his mistakes, and the fact that we danced with the best and almost stole the show, tells me one thing..........The 2nd time around, He won't have any "AWE" , He will have gone through it, and instead, come out the other side with a healthy respect and understanding, that If he manages properly and keeps penalties and turnovers to a minimum, that Victory will not only come.......It's pretty much a given (being that with,all the mistakes we made the 1st time around, we still almost won both).
All the while..............The "Experts" were saying that once we faced the elite (Pitt & Balt) teams we would be in big trouble.
Elite my ass !! The only ones in trouble are those 2 teams when we line up for the rematches on our way to the playoffs.
I can't wait till "New Years" day when we face the Ravens in "The Jungle" !
Winner takes the Division.............Loser, the Wildcard.
Either way, we're on our way to the Playoffs.
Heads High, Bengaldom.
WHO DEY THINK GONNA BEAT THEM BENGALS?
Looking forward to a Great New Year's! How bou't you??