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Bengals return to practice after restful bye week

The Pittsburgh Steelers unexpectedly lost and the Baltimore Ravens took care of business -- both teams played at home against the NFC South. The Bengals watched and now... they're heading back to business.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The bye week is over.

How did you spend it? Chores? Perhaps you gratefully and gladly accepted your honey-do list -- mostly to make up for the next 13 Sundays. Sleep. Work. Whatever. How did you spend it?

The bye week is over.

I rotated ambitions inside and outside. No. I wasn't walking around like Paul Bunyan with a dull axe resting on my shoulder. Nor was I was one of the humans on Wall-E, who have evidently cured issues that come with being overweight, such as sleep apnea. There was actually a workout involved, a protein-rich lunch, appearances with family and friends, but my day was still mostly about football. Using the Time Warner app on my phone, I wasn't confined to a specific area and still able to watch NFL Red Zone.

It was insane how Pittsburgh lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yet within the maddening gears that spin our globe, it isn't necessarily the loss that drove the headlines. It's how Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. reacted. Yes. The same Snoop Dogg that rode the Nation of Islam bandwagon, the Rastafarian community, then endorsed a Republican before voting for Obama in '12, writes subjective lyrics about the objectification of women, violence and drugs... you know what, go ahead Pittsburgh. He's yours.

Anyway, Snoop Dogg is upset about Todd Haley and the Steelers offense and the loss in general, yet in perspective you realize that it's the defense that gave up a 41-yard pass to Matt Glennon and Louis Murphy. Seriously... Glennon and Murphy, Snoop Dogg. The Steelers offense, with 390 yards and a 43-percent conversion rate, mostly did their job. Missed field goals, fumbles, and 13 penalties for 125 yards, didn't help.

Our friend Neal Coolong, who writes for Behind the Steel Curtain, writes:

Some, like me, laugh, and wonder how it is the offense can be blamed for the loss in this one. To Snoop's point, though, the Steelers had the ball with under two minutes to go with a chance to gain a first down and essentially be able to kneel the game out. They couldn't get a first down, and had to punt it back to Tampa Bay.

Jesus. I just had visions of Jay Gruden... Anyway, the Bengals have expanded their lead over the Steelers to 1.5 games in the standings.

The Baltimore Ravens took care of business with a 38-10 win over the Carolina Panthers, keeping pace with the Bengals, who are the only team to beat Baltimore at this stage in the season. Since then, the Ravens crushed the Steelers by 20, the Browns with a last-second field goal and the Panthers. [NOTE: One of the many things that I love about Andy Dalton is that he doesn't mope around and feel sorry for himself on the scale of Cam Newton]

Next on Baltimore's schedule the Ravens travel to Indianapolis and Tampa Bay, play at home against the Falcons and then comes the world-smashing AFC North battle between the Ravens and Bengals in week eight.

As for Cincinnati, the Bengals return to practice on Monday after enjoying a restful bye week. Guys like Marvin Jones and Rex Burkhead, both of whom have been out since the preseason, have already returned and other names like that of linebacker Sean Porter could make an appearance this week. It's Patriots week. A litmus test is coming. Can the Bengals, currently one of two undefeated teams in the NFL (the Arizona Cardinals being the other), go into New England and beat the Patriots?