When the Cincinnati Bengals offense played the role as antagonists in the story, how not to frustrate fans with poor execution, the reactionary boos were expected. What else would you do? The Bengals have gone three-and-out on their opening possessions, followed by two interceptions by Joe Haden -- the second leading to a pick-six and a Browns 13-0 lead in the first quarter. It wasn't until a James Harrison interception and Jayson DiManche punt block that was recovered by Tony Dye for a touchdown that lit a fire in Cincinnati's second quarter.
Considering that the Bengals had dropped consecutive games against teams sporting a dysfunctional locker room and a losing record in Miami and Baltimore, and continuing to project that stretch for a third straight week against a hated intra-state rival in Cleveland, it's understandable that Bengals fans were frustrated. In fact, we'd question anyone cheering after that miserable start, obviously concluding "Browns fan" (makes sense).
Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson wasn't happy about the booing. Without knowing the context of the question that was asked by Paul Dehner Jr, Johnson said:
Michael Johnson with strong feelings on crowd booing in first quarter: "I don't appreciate that, speaking for me. I don't appreciate it."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 17, 2013
More Johnson: "That's what you're here for (if) you're here to support (us). If something bad happens, that's not our plan ... "— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 17, 2013
More Johnson: "The negativity doesn't help. Stay positive, stay encouraging -- we'll fight. They know we'll fight. Just stick with us."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 17, 2013
Of course we knew that the Bengals would recover and we knew that the defense would keep Cincinnati in the game. They've done it every time when they're forced to climb from dramatic deficits. Like the 17-3 deficit against the Dolphins, or the 17-0 deficit against the Ravens, or the 16-point deficit against the Packers. We're at the point that we're just expecting these things to happen.
But god knows that fans aren't booing the defense -- we recognize that without their production this year, Cincinnati isn't talking about the playoffs right now.