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Marvin Lewis believes Bengals’ late season momentum is huge

Marvin Lewis

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals started their first winning streak of the year on sunday, which seems crazy to say following Week 14 with just three games left to be played this season.

But, despite the Bengals being all but eliminated from playoff contention and having only five wins this season, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis still sees some positive aspects in the Bengals’ recent play.

“It’s huge for both sides of the ball as far as play calling goes,” Lewis said when asked about taking an early lead and the momentum it builds. “It makes a big difference. As you approach the game and approach the series, when you play with a lead, it’s a different football game. We haven’t done that enough when we needed to this year. We’ve built two weeks on momentum and we have a big football game at home this week. We have to be well-prepared to play this game on Sunday.”

While the winning streak doesn’t seem to be hugely important for a Bengals team that has almost no chance of making it to the postseason, it’s an accomplishment for an underperforming team this season.

And with that in mind, the winning streak does come in handy going into Sunday’s game at home against the Steelers. With the postseason essentially out of reach, a game at home against Pittsburgh will be the most important game of the year. It would be nice to win at home against the Steelers, something the Bengals haven’t done since 2013, have only done twice during the Marvin Lewis era and three times since Paul Brown Stadium was built (2013, 2009, 2001).

But, back to Sunday’s win over the Browns, Lewis believes taking the lead early was key in the outcome of the game.

“That’s always the theme, but it’s important,” Lewis said of getting on the scoreboard first. “When you come on the road, I think it’s paramount to go out in front and do a good job. If we’re on defense, first get a three-and-out and establish field position. On offense, you have to drive the football. It’s really important.”

One of the only truly bad moments of the day for the Bengals came when Kevin Huber’s poor ball placement led to Mike Nugent missing an extra point following Jeremy Hill’s one-yard rushing touchdown.

“I don’t think we handled the snap very well,” Lewis said, explaining what went wrong. “He (Huber) didn’t get it down very well. That’s just not good for football because guys get hurt on plays like that. That’s what I was worried about. There have been too many changing plays that have occurred on that this season. They have to try and tackle him. I credit them (the Browns) for doing a good job of lateraling the ball backward because once the ball touches the ground, it’s a dead play. Once it’s moving and it’s legal like that, it’s a good play.”

The Bengals have little to no margin for error when playing the Steelers, so hopefully Nugent will be able to snap his four game streak of missed kicks and the Bengals will be able to continue their two game winning streak.