My admission... I liked the onside attempt with over two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Loved it.
I love the balls on that call, doing an offsides. Love it. Didn't get it. But loved the call.— Cincy Jungle (@CincyJungle) November 30, 2014
Did it work out? No. Did the Bengals give up three points as a result? How can you honestly tell me Tampa wouldn't have moved the football 60 yards and scored a field goal anyway?
Of course, Twitter lost their mind in an almost cartoonish fashion.
@CincyJungle Really?? I thought it was the dumbest call in the history of the league. Playing like shit, finally get the lead and that?— BestHealthcareJobs (@AbtExecSearch) November 30, 2014
It always boils down to this: If Cincinnati does something great, crickets and silence are their rewards. We refuse to acknowledge someone for doing something good (unless it significantly pads our fantasy football stats). Because we have all of this free time, we choose to rip Marvin Lewis, Andy Dalton and Mike Brown. People can't credit Lewis for finding any way to stop the play in the fourth quarter when Tampa had 12-men on the field... he just gets ripped for using a challenge when the rules say that he can't. Who f*cking cares if he stopped the play and forced the eventual league-imposed challenge? But he hasn't won a playoff game in five tries... right?
Back to the onside kick... it was there.
Placekicker Mike Nugent nudged the football forward while most of Tampa Bay's front line was already drifting back. Well, everyone except for linebacker Orie Lemon. Without the hawk-like awareness of Lemon, and the football betraying Nugent before reaching the 10th-yard by hanging over the 44-yard line, Cincinnati recovered this football.
There are, at least, nine Bengals players against Lemon.
The decision wasn't the problem.
The execution was: The football didn't travel 10 yards, no one thought to take out Lemon before he reached the football, and linebacker Nico Johnson was offsides anyway.
"Anytime you do anything like that, you’ve seen what we perceive is an opportunity to do that," said Lewis after the game. "It’s not just we’re just going to do it. We’re going to do it because of the look. Good credit to 45 [Tampa Bay linebacker Orie Lemon] because he did a great job. He came from the back-side and recovered the football."
The Bengals saw an opportunity and took it. I respect that. Wouldn't you rather have your team going after a win rather than hoping for the best in a conservative situation against a sh*tty Buccaneers offense? Nothing in Sunday's game suggested anything else other than a last-possession finale (such as what happened anyway). Lewis and the Bengals attempted to snag another offensive possession to build on their four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
You could argue... it could have hurt the Bengals. Fine... 1) if you're going to make your decisions on how much it hurts, then step aside and stop making decisions 2) it didn't hurt the Bengals.
@CincyJungle like it in a different situation. Not when you've taken momentum and their offense has been anemic since 1st Qtr— Adam Josefczyk (@AdamJosefczyk) November 30, 2014
When is the best time or situation? When Cincinnati is leading by 20 points? And what momentum? Sure Cincinnati's offense strung together a 10-play touchdown drive but before that it was a six-play drive and punt and then an interception towards the end of the first half.
There was no "momentum". There was only the moment. And in that moment, the decision was made.
If there was momentum, Cincinnati wouldn't have Mohamed Sanu throwing the football, or running with James Wright and Sanu. The Bengals struggled running the football and Andy Dalton's propensity of throwing interceptions was related to a nasty flu bug that wasn't magically going away (though his second half was far superior). Maybe the timing DID suck but who cares... it was there. No one expected it. Had Cincinnati recovered the onside, no one writes tweets their instant displeasure about Lewis' decision.
You may not and that's fine with me. But my opinion... loved the brass to make a call like that. And if it was executed better, then people are praising Lewis' call. Well, as much as people praise Lewis these days.