Specifically, the need to have some.
What am I referring to?
Well, for starters, giving opposing players some credit when our team or players on it perform poorly. I can cite a great example.
Week 5. The Bengals completely shut down one of the best quarterbacks in the game and broke his TD streak. All anyone could talk about that week was how awesome our defense is. And they are. They held one of the most prolific offenses of the last decade to 2 field goals.
But then when the same thing happened to our offense the week before, all anyone could talk about was how much the offense sucked. The Browns have a very good defense this year. We know this. Yet they weren't given much credit for doing the same thing to our offense we did to the Patriots a week later.
Basically, the Bengals aren't out there playing catch in the park every week. They are professional athletes playing a highly competitive sport against other professional athletes. It stands to reason that those other professional athletes are going to perform well against them sometimes.This team is not playing in a vacuum where the outcome of the game is solely dependent on how well they play. How well the other team plays is a major factor as well.
Our defensive coordinator has shown the ability to fool even the best quarterbacks in the game (Brady and Rodgers) into making a bad decision, isn't it reasonable to assume that other defensive coordinators have the ability to fool a quarterback who is not as good or experienced as those two? I mean, they do get paid to do exactly that.
What causes an incomplete pass or interception? If you ask a lot of the people on this site, the answer is "Andy Dalton's terrible play", and yeah, sometimes that was the cause.
But sometimes it isn't.
There's another guy out there who has ONE job: Stop the receiver from catching the ball, and catch it yourself if you can. And that other guy is good enough at his job to have been selected to do it at a professional level. He's already proven himself to be better than 99% of the guys who did that job in college.
So why is that guy's influence on the outcome of a pass never (or seldom) recognized? Incomplete pass or interception? Clearly the quarterback sucks. Couldn't possibly have anything to do with the guy whose job is to stop those plays showing up for work that day.
On a similar note, when our defense forces a 3 and out, they're awesome. When the opposing defense does that to us, our offense "can't get it done". Umm, there's more than one team on the field, and what the other team does definitely affects the outcome of what ours does.
When the Bengals win, I'm happy. I don't particularly care who scored the points or how they did it. The game was won, making me a happy fan. I don't dwell too much on how many 3 and outs they had, or whether Dalton threw a pick 6 or not, because I acknowledge that the other team is made up of professional football players and coaches as well. Sometimes the other guys are going to get the better of our guys on a play, the same as our guys get the better of theirs.
That's a big part of why I'm not as down on Dalton as some of you guys. I understand and recognize that there is more to the outcome of a play than just what he contributed to it. Sometimes it was a bad throw, sometimes a defender got a hand on it (either near the receiver or at the line of scrimmage), sometimes the wind blew it a little off target, and sometimes the defending player just made a good play and got in front of the ball unexpectedly. And when they're playing against a team known for having a good defense, defenders getting a hand in there to disrupt a pass or pick it off is more likely to happen.
So, perspective. When you start breaking down what happened in a game, try and remember that the guys on the other team are professionals too, and might deserve some of the credit for why things went badly in some plays.