[Editor's Note: We're striving to evolve our morning Banters, including the experimentation of the prominent title. We're playing around and trying new things. Along with an original story to introduce the Banter, we're adding updates and news on the Bengals next opponent -- this week, the Browns. Tell us if you like this format. If you have further ideas to enhance the morning posting, hit me up on email.]
Cincinnati's 44-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night football was so bad, it matched the worst kickoff weekend defeat in franchise history. The other being a 14-45 loss to the Denver Broncos in 1991 in which John Elway completed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Mike Young and Tyrone Braxton returned one of three Boomer Esiason interceptions for a touchdown. Cincinnati's loss on Monday was also the fourth game in franchise history that the Bengals lost the kickoff opener by 20 points or more. We're beating a dead horse on this one. It's hard. It was a traumatic event, historically bad because of the overwhelming expectations we had for this team coming into the regular season.
|2012||@ Baltimore Ravens||L, 44-13||-31||?|
|1991||@ Denver Broncos||L, 14-45||-31||3-13|
|2002||San Diego Chargers||L, 6-34||-28||2-14|
|2003||Denver Broncos||L, 10-30||-20||8-8|
|1973||@ Denver Broncos||L, 10-28||-18||10-4*|
Wait. You notice that?
Let's revisit the above chart. In 1973 the Bengals lost to the Denver Broncos by 18 points -- the fifth-largest opening weekend defeat in franchise history. Let's dig a little deeper. Third-year quarterback Ken Anderson was mostly inaccurate that afternoon in Denver, completing 50 percent of his passes, failing to generate a touchdown and throwing an interception. He was pulled for Greg Cook [NOTE: this was Cook's final game in what should have been a rich NFL career - read more on Greg Cook here]. Save for scoring touchdowns, the Bengals offense played well in 1973, generating 344 yards of total offense and 133 yards rushing.
Now we're getting to the eery stage of our Scooby Doo mystery.
In 2012 Andy Dalton finished the game without a touchdown and threw an interception, much like Anderson in 1973. Yet Cincinnati generated 322 yards of total offense on Monday with 129 yards on the ground. Fairly close to the same squad in 1973 during their opener. Additionally running back Essex Johnson scored a touchdown and recorded 90 yards rushing in 1973. BenJarvus Green Ellis ran for 91 yards and a touchdown in 2012. Cincinnati's rushing defense was appalling in 1973, allowing 153 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Not as dramatic, Cincinnati still allowed 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns Monday night. Broncos quarterback Charley Johnson led touchdown drives of 80, 72 and 80 yards in the first half. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco led touchdown drives of 63, 82 and 88 yards (the third drive was the first in the third quarter).
Did the trend extend throughout the entire season for the 1973 squad? No. Cincinnati would go on to win 10 of their next 13, earning a postseason berth that year.
That's the thing about week one games. There's actually more games that deliver the same weight as their opening loss on Monday. We don't believe that this is the type of team that will fold shop and call it quits until next year. In fact we're expecting that the Cleveland Browns could become victims of a nasty tsunami after a rapturous earthquake rattles Cincinnati. In other words, the Bengals are going to be royally pissed off. They lost a division game and they did it with huge embarrassment before a national audience.
No chance that the Cincinnati Bengals allow for such things to go unremembered. Perhaps the loss to Baltimore becomes that moment from which a team draws inspiration ensuring they don't follow the same mistakes. That is if the players survive Mike Zimmer this week. Cincinnati could have a rather significant transaction log by 4 PM Wednesday afternoon.
+ A handful of Cincinnati Bengals played their first kickoff weekend with other teams last weekend. Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer completed 32 of 46 passes for 297 yards passing and a touchdown; though it wasn't enough to help Oakland overcome an eight-point deficit during the second Monday Night game. Packers running back Cedric Benson carried the football nine times for 18 yards rushing, though no fumbles, during Green Bay's 30-22 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Browns defensive end Frostee Rucker posted three tackles, a quarterback hit and an additional pressure, during Cleveland's 17-16 loss to the Eagles.
But the best week one performance could arguably be Dallas Cowboys offensive guard Nate Livings. The offensive line he was part of a unit that generated 143 yards rushing (DeMarco Murray had 131 yards) and Tony Romo settled somewhat comfortably in the pocket on his way to a 129.5 quarterback rating performance. Pro Football Focus graded Livings' performance as the best among Dallas offensive linemen, though he was credited with allowing one of Romo's sacks.
+ The Baltimore Ravens humbled the expectations for the Cincinnati Bengals.
+ That being said one good thing that came out of Monday's loss is the emergence of Cincinnati's rushing offense.
+ Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback posted four interceptions during Cleveland's week one 17-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. The performance generated a 5.1 passer rating. One has to suspect that some of the more impatient Browns fans may be clamoring for Colt McCoy already. Not Browns head coach Pat Shurmur.
"He won’t lose his confidence," Shurmur said. "I think it’s important we go back, just like we do each week, work on the fundamentals of playing the position and get ready to play the next team. That’s it."
"He’s got to look at this game and make the corrections," Shurmur said. "I told the team this: ‘What happened yesterday is correctable.’ That’s the great news. We’re not looking at plays and situations that they can’t improve on so that’s where he’s at right now."
+ Formerly suspended linebacker Scott Fujita, who missed last weekend's game against the Eagles, is expected to return against the Bengals this Sunday. After the way L.J. Fort and Craig Robertson played, there's some interest on where Fujita could play.
+ Fujita, previously on the suspension list, took Joe Haden's spot on the 53-man roster after the cornerback lost his appeal. He began serving his four-game suspension on Monday for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs after he tested positive for Adderall. Adderall, which is a stimulant used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D) is legal in the NFL when prescribed by a doctor. Haden will lose $1.3 million in salary because of the suspension.