When the Cincinnati Bengals traveled to CenturyLink Field eight years ago to play the Seattle Seahawks, it was the fourth road game of Andy Dalton’s career and the seventh game of the Marvin Lewis “reset”. The Bengals haven’t been back in the pacific northwest since that 2011 contest, and so much has changed since.
Lewis has been replaced by Zac Taylor just this year, and Taylor’s first task as Cincinnati’s head coach is to walk into one of the loudest and hostile environments in the NFL and come out on top. Coaching against Seattle isn’t anything new to Taylor, as he was with the Seahawks’ division rival Rams during the past two seasons. But the Bengals aren’t quite the Rams, even though these Bengals look much different than the squad Dalton lead in his rookie year.
Speaking of Dalton, he’s still here in case you didn’t know. This will be his third game against the Seahawks and second one against their quarterback Russell Wilson. The first time these two faced off in 2015, it ended in a Mike Nugent game-winning overtime field goal minutes after Nugent banked in a 31-yard kick in the final seconds of regulation. Nugent’s clutchness capped off a 17-point fourth quarter comeback that got the Bengals to 5-0 on the season.
Even 2015 seems like forever ago; Wilson has maintained his status as one of the league’s top signal-callers, while Dalton has had trouble getting back to the level he was playing that year. That should ultimately one of Taylor’s biggest goals for this season, but first things first: leave Seattle 1-0.
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