Teams always try to stay focused on the task at hand in the NFL.
You can get in your own head if you start playing out all these different scenarios, so it is best to focus on what you can control.
“Pittsburgh lost?” said linebacker Vontaze Burfict. “Hell yeah. That’s good, but at the end of the day, we have to worry about what’s going on here. Happy they lost though.”
Burfict has an obvious history with the Steelers. It dates all the way back to 2015 when Burfict tackled Steelers’ running back Le’Veon Bell along the sideline, and it resulted in Bell missing the rest of the season with an injury.
This was followed by Steelers’ linebacker Vince Williams threatening Burfict on twitter after the game. The Bengals won that game 16-10, but it was the last time the Bengals defeated the Steelers, which includes the painful Wild Card loss.
Including the playoff loss the Bengals have lost four straight to the Steelers and seven of the last eight. It is clear if the Bengals want to gain control of their season that they need to show they can overcome that Steeler roadblock.
Lewis also subtly commented on how important the Steelers’ game is for the Bengals’ season according to ESPN:
“They know what’s on the line. You spend nine weeks of the offseason, and then five or six weeks of training camp, and now we’re five games into the season, and we don’t want to waste this away,” said Lewis. “You’re at a point right now where you can keep controlling your destiny and fight your way back into the race and do special things. And that’s what it is. We didn’t start out as well as we’d like, but we earned it. And now we’re earning our way out of it.”
It is crazy to think the Bengals are capable of being in a position where they can control their season considering where they started. The Bengals fell to 0-3, and all we heard as fans is how rare it is for an 0-3 team to make the playoffs. Yet here the Bengals are on the brink of actually being able to pull it off.
A lot of the Bengals’ turn around has to do with the team coming back from bad plays, according to ESPN Lewis hopes it continues:
“It served us well today,” Lewis said. “I wish there was some carry-over. I hope there is.”
They will need it against the Steelers. Last week the Jaguars defense dominated the Steelers by intercepting Ben Roethlisberger five times. The Jaguars returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns during the 30-9 win over the Steelers. The Bengals haven’t been that opportunistic, but they can certainly put pressure on Roethlisberger and possibly force him into a couple bad throws. the Bengals defense has the second most sacks so far this season with 18.
The Bengals will have an extra week to prepare for their division rival. If they win it will be an entirely different season.
A.J. Green talked about his mindset going forward with ESPN:
“It’s the NFL man, things can turn around real quick. If we continue …getting these Ws, stacking them, the sky is the limit for us. We keep getting better each week.”