Being as the game was played in only the second week of the regular season, any mention of must-win should be thrown out the window. Let's remember that the Bengals started 3-5 last year before winning seven of their final eight to claim a postseason berth in week 16 -- one week prior to the regular season finale.
So saying Cincinnati's performance against the Steelers as critical is a bit over-dramatic.
It was no less important.
No team that began a season 0-2 has made the postseason since 2008. But there's a theme of breaking trends. The Bengals haven't won on Monday Night Football since beating the Ravens during kickoff weekend in 2007 and they haven't beaten the Steelers on prime time since 1995. Cincinnati has beaten the Steelers only one time (2009) when the game has been played at Paul Brown Stadium during the Marvin Lewis era. And Monday's 20-10 win was Cincinnati's third win against Pittsburgh at home since Paul Brown Stadium was erected.
Perception was also changed.
"The Bengals (had) an opportunity in front of a national audience to go out set the tone for the rest of the season," writes one of our readers JoshQMcMullen. "To show the nation that we are no longer the Bungles. So now when some one says that something is very Bengalish, It means it's big, nasty, and of champion caliber."
The win "will cement many fans of the NFL that yes, the Bengals are here to stay," writes Kyle Schwab.