+ There's 16 games. But who cares. When you lose the first one, everything changes. Calls for firing Marvin Lewis start boiling. If a Bengals fan occupied the any government security agency, Bob Bratkowski would be called an enemy of the state and Mike Brown sucks. Still. In fact, I blame the Bengals for that steak I cooked after the game. It was a bit less pink than I like. Those that called for the Bengals as the darkhorse team to make the playoffs are pushing each other off the bandwagon now. Like James Walker, who banged the drum of the Bengals possibly being postseason darlings by being this year's Arizona Cardinals.
Hold off the playoff talk for now in Cincinnati. The Bengals need to get back to the fundamentals in order to win their first game of the 2009 season. Despite the preseason hype, the Bengals were sloppy and inefficient and it cost them Sunday in a 12-7 loss to the Denver Broncos.
One game. Does all this preclude the obvious, like having an offense that mightily struggled until the final possession? Or does that include the not so obvious, like Kyle Orton calling in the huddle: "chuck it to Marshall, deflection by Hall left and Stokley being at the right place, right time... on two. Ready...." Furthermore, save for the one botched field goal attempt, I wouldn't necessarily constitute the Bengals as needing fundamentals; there wasn't any trend of missing tackles; the second pick by Carson Palmer was a Hail Mary; there wasn't any fumbles on offense; they only committed four penalties for 27 yards lost. In fact, the Bengals offense outplayed the Broncos offense in every phase -- total yards, rushing yards, gross passing yards, rushing first downs, passing first downs, third down conversion percentage, total offensive plays, time of possession.
Granted, the only stat that matters is the final score. But fundamentals? C'mon. Here's a bit of advice. If you're going to get off the bandwagon, at least duck and roll so you don't hurt yourself.
+ Even through all of the SportsCenter highlights, the anger and backlash, the team is staying positive. Antwan Odom said, "I think we played good as a defense, and I look forward to the rest of the season because I think we have a good thing going." Domata Peko said, "We had a couple sacks (Sunday) from the front four. We have to move forward and forget about this game." Andre Caldwell sees the positives as a team, tweeting, "We are a team so we all improve as individuals but most importantly we will get better as a team in all phases." Rey Maualuga promises, "We are gonna do some great things this year!" Chad Ochocinco tweets, "It's all good, we will be back." Pat Sims? Oh, we're winning next week. "Man what a day, wish it would have ended n our favor. Next week it will."
Let me put this in perspective. It's one thing for the players to write this, throwing a blanket over the fans to make us believe. But it's another when nearly all of the players with Twitter accounts are actually believing this themselves. Think of it this way. Would you rather them bitch and moan about the loss, or believe that they'll rebound next week?
Quick note before we go: Mo Egger loses man points for this Tweet while a great Sunday night football game is going on between the Packers and Bears: "If anyone happens to be watching the VMAs, I need help on what that is standing next to Beyonce."