They did it, history. 2015 will go down as the year the Bengals enjoyed their best start in franchise history. The unblemished Bengals got to this point by defeating Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in their own house on Sunday. The win may not be pretty but the check in the "W" column always is.
In his weekly Monday morning quarterback article, Peter King had several things to say about the Bengals:
The best three teams in football are all in the AFC: New England, Denver and Cincinnati, probably but not certainly in that order.
He follows that with stating "The Bengals are not fooling around." This is high praise for a writer that is usually very critical of the Bengals. After having spent some time in Cincinnati covering the team, I often thought he held a grudge for some reason. On this morning (and most of this season), King has nothing but praise for the Bengals. He hits the hat trick by comparing the Bengals to the World Series champs Kansas City Royals in the "What I liked" portion of his article:
The Bengals' transformation from being a crummy late-game team to being the Royals of the NFL.
With a hint of the old Andy Dalton, Andrew Perloff failed to credit the Bengals with actually winning the game using the terms lucky and saying the Steelers gave away the game more than the Bengals won it. Sports Illustrated talks about if the Bengals have wrapped up the division at this point in the season. The little bit of positive they lumped on the Bengals was that they were able to go into Pitt and secure the win was big.
Profootballtalk also takes their jabs at Dalton:
For much of the day, the Bengals quarterback looked like playoff Andy Dalton... The Bengals rallied for a 16-10 win at Pittsburgh, moving them to 7-0 and helping to salve a rough day for an offense that had known no problems this year.
PFT continues to tow the line like SI did, they credit the Steelers for handing the Bengals the game more than Cincinnati for earning the win.
An article on FOX Sports had nice things to say about the Bengals:
Cincinnati is 7-0 for the first time and in control of the AFC North heading into the season's midpoint. The defending division champion Steelers (4-4) were hoping that having Ben Roethlisberger back would turn it into a race again. Instead, it's a rout.
Bleacher Report also sees how impressive the Bengals have been:
This year's Cincinnati Bengals aren't the same old Bengals. While this statement had a completely different connotation prior to head coach Marvin Lewis' arrival, the team still wasn't viewed positively entering this season. Four straight opening-round playoff losses tend to do that to one's image. Everyone sat back, remained in wait-and-see mode and clung to that moment when the Bengals would inevitably shrink during a big game. So far, Cincinnati hasn't done so.
CBS Boston writes about how the Bengals pose a serious threat to the Patriots and playoff seedings, saying, "It’s the Cincinnati Bengals (also 7-0) that could present a problem when NFL Playoff seeding is decided."
The undefeated Bengals are exceeding most people’s expectations this season, mainly on the strength of quarterback Andy Dalton enjoying a career-best season. The former second-round pick looks to have made a leap forward this season, but still has questions to answer about his ability to perform in the postseason and big games in general.
CBS Sports wrote a short piece on how A.J. Green was the difference maker of the game:
Green was by far Cincinnati's best offensive player in the contest, as he accounted for more than half of quarterback Andy Dalton's passing yardage. The 11 receptions were a season high, and the fifth-year receiver eclipsed his yardage total from the previous two games combined in this one.
An article from SBNation talks about the change in tides for these two teams. No longer is Cincinnati under the thumb of the big brother Steelers. It is the attitude of the Steelers that they own the Bengals, it is the attitude of the Bengals that makes it not so.
"I think the team understands what we have," Green said after his 11-catch, 118-yard effort. "We are playing for more than just trying to win a division. We've been under Pittsburgh's thumb for a while. They would like to keep us there. I know they don't really think a lot of us. They hit (Bengals receiver) Marvin (Jones) hard on one play and (Steelers safety) Mike Mitchell walked up to me and yelled, `I got you next.' Listen, that's their old way. But this is a new day. Everyone wants to talk about the old Steelers. I think it's time to take a look at the new Bengals."
Coley Harvey of ESPN also wrote about Andy Dalton being clutch in the win over the Steelers, which he was when the Bengals needed him most.
The Bengals' decision to finally mix in passes and rushes on their final drive sparked the comeback and the 16-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. They had appeared to be hesitant running the ball going into that series. Dalton's heady flip to Giovani Bernard during the drive, which picked up 23 yards, put the offense in the red zone and in position for Green's ultimate score. Fourth-quarter comeback drives are starting to become the norm for Dalton. He's now led three game-winning drives this season.
Here are some Tweets about the Bengals' win over the Steelers:
Another gutsy comeback win for the Bengals. 7-0. Would take some collapse not to win that division now— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 1, 2015
Those of you who don't want to give Bengals any credit, you're making a mistake. This is a different Bengals group.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) November 1, 2015
If the game is close.. count on the @Bengals : 9-0-1 the last two seasons in games decided by single digits (best record in NFL)— trey wingo (@wingoz) November 2, 2015