Maybe we should file it under "too good to be true".
The Cincinnati Bengals not only won a primetime game on Monday Night Football, they beat the Denver Broncos... the proverbial No. 2 team in the AFC (if we apply a collegiate ranking perspective). Paul Brown Stadium was a rock concert and towards the end, mother nature dropped violent water droplets of joy. It was a beautiful sight watching Cincinnati land a few Mike Tyson uppercuts against their primetime demon and the "never-beat-Manning" storyline.
Some already view Cincinnati's win over Denver as the biggest in Paul Brown Stadium history. Personally, the '03 win over the Kansas City Chiefs was a coming-of-age moment but I won't resist anyone that insists Monday's win was it.
Oh, and let's not forget the postseason berth. For the fourth consecutive year and for the fifth year out of the last six, the Bengals are heading to the playoffs. If you were to go back 15 years from now and tell my younger-self that the Bengals would be postseason regulars like this, I wouldn't believe you. Then I'd knock you out, steal your time machine, head 100 years into the future and snag a sports book. I'd then return back to become the world's greatest bookie.
*Cough, cough... aaaah-choo*
And then an illness overwhelmed the team.
Eight players experienced anything from "a stomach bug to sinus infections to perhaps even the flu", forcing them to miss at least one practice with a couple missing more than one. Even head coach Marvin Lewis caught something, but told reports, with his low raspy voice, that he's "'over the hump' and sounded worse than he felt."
Quarterback Andy Dalton was sent home on Wednesday, with tight end Jermaine Gresham, cornerback Terence Newman and safety Reggie Nelson missing practice as well. Dalton and Gresham were full participants on Thursday and Friday and were left off the team's status report for Sunday's game. Placekicker Mike Nugent and Clint Boling missed Thursday and Friday respectively, but are listed as probable. We're expecting them to play.
"It's crazy how contagious this thing has been," said Dalton via Fox Sports Ohio. "Hopefully we can limit who all's getting it, but it's definitely been spreading."
The bug hit Newman and Nelson harder. Newman didn't practice at all this week and Nelson was a limited participant on Friday after sitting on Wednesday and Thursday. Both are listed as questionable. Adam Jones didn't show on the team's injury report until Friday, but was listed as questionable Friday.
Four players (Boling, Jones, Lewis-Harris and Newman) missed practice due to the illness on Friday, and two others (Nelson and Nugent) were limited for the same reason.
That's the football gods though. Take a high from Monday's win and knock some humbleness into our step.