It is hard to believe the “on to Cincinnati” game happened in 2014. It seems like such a world away. Maybe that is just how far I repressed the memory, though. For those who don’t remember (or have chosen to forget), in 2014 the Patriots lost to the Chiefs 41-14 in Week 4 and fell to 2-2 on the season. The Chiefs defense completely shutdown Tom Brady for most of the game, and the national media had a field day. There were serious talks about whether the Patriots should start Jimmy Garoppolo and move on from the “aging” Brady. These were actual opinions people had in 2014.
As it happens most times the Patriots get backed into a wall by seemingly everyone, they took out their frustration on the next team on their schedule. That team was the Bengals.
During Bill Belichick’s press conference after the blow out loss to the Chiefs, he answered any questions unrelated to the game with the Bengals with “we are on to Cincinnati.”
This led to probably one of the worst losses in Bengals history. It may not have been the largest margin of loss, but it was more the situation and feel of the game. The Bengals were 3-0 going into the game, and it was looked at as a prove-it type game for the Bengals. The result was the Patriots beating up on the Bengals for a 43-17 win. It was so bad the Bengals even played their backups later in the game.
Jeremy Hill, who had two carries for a single yard and three catches for 68 yards during that game brought back up this terrible memory recently. He signed with the Patriots this offseason, so it would make sense he would bring up his new team destroying his old one.
“We got to be blessed with the ‘On to Cincinnati’ game and that didn’t end well for us,” Hill said via Mike Reiss of ESPN, “so it’ll be good to be on the other side of that.
“It started bad and it ended even worse. It was not good. Those guys came out fired up, locked in, very well prepared and ready to go. Like I said, it’s going to be good to be on the other side.”
I mean that logic would make sense if you ignore that the same thing literally happened to the Patriots the week before. Although I get where he is coming from. The Patriots have this winning history and expectations that the Bengals haven’t had. Cincinnati is constantly in the mode of proving they deserve to be viewed as a good team, while the Patriots are just viewed as the best of the best.
Hill also managed to try and explain why he had such a rough time the last few seasons with the Bengals after starting out with such a promising rookie campaign.
“I just wasn’t myself,” Hill said according to CBS Boston. “I really didn’t have the flexibility and the strength in [my ankle] that I needed to be the back that I wanted to be, so I’m glad that I got it done and I can get it back to 100 percent and be the back that I know I can be.”
Hill is actually claiming that he was injured for the last two seasons, all of 2016 and 2017. Hill opted to end his 2017 season in November in order to get the surgery. At that point it was obvious he was more concerned with his upcoming free agency than the Bengals’ season. Marvin Lewis even threw him under the bus by saying the doctors thought it was something he could play through.
“Jeremy thinks he needs to have ankle surgery,” Lewis said. “Yeah, I think I would be (surprised). I think he’s consulted a couple physicians, both said that this was something that could wait until after the season but he just felt like it was causing too much discomfort.”
With that said, the Bengals had already moved on to Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard receiving most of the carries and snaps at the running back position anyway. However, he added something on that, which was really damning.
“It was something I was dealing with for about two years, and just something I felt like going into free agency and going into when the season was over, something that I needed to get done, something that I’m glad I got done then rather than when free agency started,” Hill said. “But for me, I’ve been moving around really great and it’s progressing along perfectly. I’m excited for the opportunity ahead.”
First off, Hill is basically saying the Bengals’ season was over in the first week of November. Second, the fact he says he was dealing with this injury for two years doesn’t make sense. Why didn’t he take care of it after the 2016 season in order to be 100 percent for a contract year? It seems like if that was the honest issue, then getting surgery prior to 2017 would’ve been the best course of action. Who knows. Maybe he thought he could play through it, or maybe he is just using it as convenient excuse.