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The Bengals are who we thought they were.

They were who we thought they were. No, not the San Francisco 49ers. David gave us a description of the 49ers projecting a score (34-13) implying the Bengals offense would, I don't know, score. Either he hustled us into a lull, or he's still waking up on the West Coast surprised his team played as complete a game they could. Or understanding our point that the Bengals offense isn't only over-rated, but it's the most disappointing aspect of this team. Like it matters. It's the Bengals that played like the junior varsity club starting from Carson Palmer all the way to John Busing.

The Bengals were who we thought they were. I know I'm ripping off coach Green, but it fits. The Bengals are a notoriously disappointing team with sideline expressions that most people thought, "they're done". We knew that the defense would pop their mile high balloon and slowly descend back to Mt. Helen's unstable steam bursting surface. We knew that if the Bengals gave up 100 yards rushing on the ground, they'd lose. Frank Gore rushed for 138 yards and now the Bengals are 0-7 when the feature back hits the century mark. I know, I'm a gullible sucker. We knew Dexter Jackson is dreadful in pass coverage. We knew that Landon Johnson was a tackling machine -- 5-10 yards down the field. We knew that Johnathan Joseph, while injured early, is proving me wrong. We knew that Corey Mays has no business being on the field. We knew that the Bengals defense would allow the 49ers offense to convert 60% of their third downs (9/15). We knew this. That if the Bengals defense couldn't force a turnover, the Bengals would have no chance.

We knew that the defense's inability to get off the field would limit the Bengals offense to only seven possessions -- not including the knee to end the first half. We knew that the Bengals offense would completely suck on those seven possessions. We knew that Marvin Lewis would lose a challenge before it was thrown -- though, I supported the challenge (why below)

Am I disappointed? Honestly. No. In the back of my mind, just behind the portion of the brain where I claim the Bengals have serviceable talent to win games, I knew the Bengals would fold, whine on the sidelines and completely fail to appear as a team -- much less act or play like a team. It's not just this game. It's been a long time that this thought has been seared into my mind.

I'm starting to think that the Bengals really aren't that talented. Individually? Sure. They're a bunch of paper champions where you can go through each player and find their respective talents. As a team, they're disgusting. They couldn't even tie their velcro shoes to get out on the field.

Why I supported the challenge.

The Bengals were losing, 20-13, with over two minutes left in the game. The 49ers, on non-punting drives, had the ball for over five minutes in four of six possessions. The other two non-punting possessions ended in a touchdown and the final drive to end the game. Knee, knee, knee. Even if the Bengals held that first time out that went to the lost challenge, there was no reason, NONE, to believe that the Bengals defense would force the 49ers to go three-and-out. Then you watched Frank Gore pick up 10 yards on third-and-nine. Good job.

If the play is reviewed, and reversed, then Chad Johnson's touchdown changes the game's complexion. It's not like the 49ers wouldn't drive down the field in two minutes and score the game winning field goal. What? You think they would? Yea. Me too.

Watching the replay, in my heart, I knew it was incomplete. But I've seen calls all year, in college and the NFL, go opposite of what I expected. This was a challenge attempted through divinity. A prayer. What have you got to lose? A timeout? A timeout to stop the clock to make the final ticks of the game agonizing longer? No, the Bengals defense wouldn't show up. That would go against knowing what we knew of them. This was the last chance the Bengals had. A challenge. A prayer that the referee would see something to give us one bounce, just one bounce, during this "god-please-end" season.

It wasn't to be. It hasn't been all season. Not that I expected the Bengals to get the call. Not that I expected the defense to shut down the 49ers offense. The Bengals are who we thought they were.

A quick observation -- difference between Manning and Palmer.

Want to know the difference between Peyton Manning and Carson Palmer? Not that it really matters -- but an observation I made Saturday night . Down by a touchdown, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson sat under the comfort of 20-pound jackets while Carson Palmer was no where to be seen. Manning -- if losing a close game -- is typically seen looking through the pictures of the previous plays, figuring out how to get it done -- while explaining what he's seeing with his receivers. Palmer? I didn't see him on the sidelines at all while Houshmandzadeh and Johnson sat alone jawing about Nolan's fourth down decision.

This is just another example of my season-long point. No one on this team is rising above everyone else. Especially not Palmer, the guy with "Captain" on his shoulder who's unarguably, the best player on this team.

But he has reasoning for the poor play. Palmer said after the game, "It is the same thing every week. We aren't executing on offense and you don't have 11 guys doing each of their jobs. If you have miscues and breakdowns on offense you are not going to be successful."

Manning corrects those mistakes during the game. We have no one on this team, player or coach, that make in-game adjustments. To take what's happened and adjust. I don't blame just Marvin Lewis. I blame everyone involved. There's no one on this team that helps this team win. But everyone is great at excusing why they're not winning. Bungles? Sure sounds like it to me.

You're shocked?

"Yeah, I was shocked - I really thought we were going to win the game and I was going to talk trash to the players I know on (the 49ers)," T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. "I was shocked. They had a chance to go up 10, make it a two-possession game. I actually was shocked.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh says after each loss, "This was a game we definitely should have won." Yet, once again, you and your teammates assure that winning a game you should have won doesn't, in reality, happen. You're 14 games into the season. At what point do you just realize that would've, could've, should've doesn't really matter. Nor does it even apply. Perhaps, we're just not that good. It's about that time to admit some truths. But hey, at least you have a chance to go to the Pro Bowl. Just don't be shocked if you don't go. Wait, he already said he would be. Nevermind.

Monster Park = Buried

Chick Ludwig had the best opening line.

Monster Park at Candlestick Point is an old, decrepit and decaying structure. That makes it a perfect burial ground for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Paul Daugherty said:

Northwestern beat the Bengals 20-13 Saturday night. In a performance that should get them a lifetime ban from the NFL Network, the Bengals lost to a third-team Clipboard Guy named Shaun Hill. Until Saturday, Hill's career highlight was two offensive player of the week honors in 2003. He played for the Amsterdam Admirals then, in NFL Europa, which no longer exists.

A tangent item that I can't stand. Anyone that promotes on the World Wide Web as a follower or commentator of the Cincinatti Bengals. If you can't spell the city's name right, then get out of here. And I find no benefit with blogs that just report what happened like continuous AP reports with zero commentary or opinion like some rival sites. Hey, look, I'm fit to be tied today. You understand.

Do I really need to say anything?

About Bryant Gumbel. Seriously. Do I need to say anything? Do I need to mention that the San Francisco 49ers running back, Al Gore, had a good night? Do I need to mention that the entire booth would spend 15 minutes in complete shock why a team choose a play while the game was already moving on?

The only thing more embarrassing Saturday Night than the Bengals, was Bryant Gumbel. It was to the point that I had hoped he wouldn't speak anymore because I felt bad. I felt bad like some young kid singing the national anthem in front of a national audience and noticeably screwing it up. Thank god, I don't have the NFL Network.

Not much else to say.

I'm not going through the loss. I'm not going to watch the game again like I used to do earlier in the season. I think we all know that this team is horrible. I think we all know why they're horrible -- talent, attitude and preparation. Going through a game promoting the great play of some (Domata Peko) while demoting the play of others (everyone else), doesn't do anything for anyone. And I would rather leave the game in purgatory rather than analyze it. Why? Would you even read it? Would you ask me to watch that again?

Would you really find the benefits of examination when the team doesn't? They just tell you that everyone isn't doing their jobs, or that we "have to get better" or "shocked" when losing to an inferior team? Hell, the 49ers weren't just inferior. They kicked royal Bengals ass. So why in the world should we care to examine our short-comings when the Bengals thrive on them. They excuse them. They play the same card each week. What's the point?

I'm fit to be tied. Why? Because it's the same thing. They take you, rise you up a little when they play well, then play like they did Saturday night -- the truth behind the twist. I'm sucker enough to think that trends are being established that will carry over. I guess inconsistency is a trend. Right? I guess suckage is a trend. I guess over-rating yourselves is a trend. I guess playing the role of paper champions is a trend. I guess being individual without any regard for the team's success is a trend. What do I know? I'm the idiot that cheers them on and then writes about it all season when I could be doing something else. Like reading a romance novel. At least something good happens to the characters involved.

Hell, come to think of it, we are a team of trends.