It's been a whirlwind of a week for the Cincinnati Bengals and for those of us who cover the team. Who Dey Nation is riding high after the team pulled off an improbable victory at home while stunning the Seattle Seahawks, as they gave up a 17-point lead. Seemingly lost in the shuffle is the upcoming game in Buffalo.
Bills Mafia is riding high as well, given the team's 3-2 start and excitement around Rex Ryan's arrival this offseason. It's that excitement and the national news surrounding the Bengals creating a stir amongst Buffalo media members. It's probably why we were approached by a couple of podcasts this week for appearances to talk about the upcoming game between the Bengals and Bills.
Matt Warren over at Buffalo Rumblings, SB Nation's Bills site, hosted me for a Google Hangout chat. While the video is still being edited and has yet to be posted, you can check out the insight over there for the game as well. Once the video is made available to us, we'll share it.
Also this week, the great guys who man the Fast Break podcast had me on their show. Though they talk about a myriad of local sports teams, the focus of the week was the upcoming matchup. Below is a portion of the transcript and the audio for your listening pleasure. The interview starts at about the 11-minute mark and continues until about the 23:30 mark. Enjoy!
FB: I'm wondering, what's the pulse of the fans? Bills fans can kind of relate to the struggles of Bengals fans, but are the fans pretty pumped up right now, or do they have any apprehension?
AC: I think they're pretty ecstatic right now. I think if the Bengals had ended up losing that game against the Seahawks last week, I think there might have been a little crash back down to reality a little bit just because of who the Seahawks have been over the past couple of years. The Bengals pulled out an exciting one, you guys probably saw it--a heck of a comeback and really we haven't seen that much of that from Andy Dalton in years past. They usually crawl into a shell and let things snowball on them when facing a big deficit, but they strapped up the boots and pulled one out at the end.
I think that's what really excites the fan base, this different, I've been calling it a "genetic change" in my posts. There's kind of a no quit in them, it doesn't matter the deficit or the situation, and they did it a few weeks ago against the Ravens. That one got out of control, but they still pulled it out, so they look a bit different, but I still think fans are still holding on to some cautious optimism though, because they have yet to play one of those prime time games where they tend to stumble and then, of course, the playoffs are an issue as well. They still kind of want to see more proof, but for right now, they're loving the 5-0 start.
FB: Anthony, you talk about that "genetic change"--where is that stemming from, really? Because you have Marvin Lewis, who is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the league, as well as Andy Dalton who's been there a while, same with A.J. Green. I mean, the emergence of Tyler Eifert has been incredible, but what do you really attribute most to that genetic change?
AC: It's hard to say. I think, as weird as it may sound, I think the team and these guys are kind of sick of how the seasons have been ending and they're doing everything they can in the offseason and Training Camp to get further in the postseason and potentially win a championship. Maybe it took all of these painful losses in the postseason and primetime games to make a shift in their focus, if you will, in their training this offseason.
Another thing that you can pinpoint is that they're just a lot healthier this year than they were in 2014. Tyler Eifert was lost for the year in the first game of the season, Marvin Jones was out for the year--he's a big play guy. A.J. Green was in and out of the lineup, Vontaze Burfict was out most of the year. You know, they lost a lot of key guys last year and they were still able to scrape together ten and a half wins last year with that tie, and I think it's health and a different focus this year. It's really starting with the quarterback play as well--that's been dramatically improved this year.
Listen to the rest of the Fast Break interview below!