Some have gone as far as to try and blank it out of their mind altogether. For Giovani Bernard, a good part of it is already out of his memory bank thanks a to a concussion-inducing hit from Ryan Shazier in the third quarter.
But in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daugherty, Bernard made it seem as though he'd blanked the entire game from his memory bank:
"How long did it take you to forget The Game?'' I asked Giovani Bernard on Tuesday.
"What game?'' he said.
"You know which one,'' I said.
"What game?'' he repeated.
"Oh,'' I said, more than a little slow on the uptake. "I gotcha.''
"Exactly,'' Bernard said.
Bernard played a big role in helping the Bengals reel off 12 wins and make a fifth-straight playoff berth after notching 730 rushing yards on 154 carries (4.7 ypc) with 49 catches for 472 yards, but didn't get to see the season through after exiting from that dreaded game.
Unfortunately for Andrew Whitworth, the end of that game was something he's tasted six times now in his Bengals career. The good news is, if his career thus far is any indicator, it's not going to affect him as he's continued to be a stalwart left tackle through good times and bad.
"That’s what people outside the building are going to be talking about for a long time," Whit said in reference to the latest playoff loss. "The only way I’m as good as I can be Week 1 against the Jets is if I eliminate that from my mind.’
"It kind of plays in your mind, what you could have done better. But you could say that after every game. That just comes with being an athlete.’’
And while Whit and the Bengals want to forget the game for the most part, that don't want to forget the lesson learned from a crushing defeat they didn't need to suffer through.
"Realize how little things can lose a football game. That’s all we need to take from it,’’ Whitworth said.
There's no point in letting the pain of that loss remain with the Bengals, but there's no question the team needs to take what they learned from it and now make sure it never happens again.