The Bengals Might Not Be Who We Thought They Were

1990. What a good year that was. We saw the Hubble Space Telescope launched, Nelson Mandela was release from prison, Margaret Thatcher resigned, and the World Wide Web was essentially invented. Gas was $1.08 per gallon, a stamp was 25 cents, you could buy a car for about $9,500, and the average income was about $15,000.

1990 also saw the births of celebrities and athletes like Liam Hemsworth, Klay Thompson, RG3, Emma Watson, Margot Robbie, Austin Dillon, Damian Lillard, Adam Thielen, J-Law, John Tavares, and Soulja Boy.

And the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game.

Last night the Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens 34-23, just 4 days after beating the Indianapolis Colts by the same score. By Vegas spreads, the Bengals should be 0-2. On the field, they’re 2-0. The Vegas O/U win total for them this season was 6.5. I hope you took the over, at least by early indications.

For reasons that no one can explain, Marvin Lewis is still the head coach in Cincinnati. It’s been 28 years since the Bengals have seen any glimpse of postseason success. This looks like a different team right now. I know, it’s early, and Bengals fans are surely holding their collective breaths waiting for the inevitable collapse. But last night they came out playing inspired; they played at a faster pace. They hit the Ravens in the mouth early on and Baltimore simply couldn’t respond fast enough. They eventually made a game out of it, but the Bengals were a better team last night.

Andy Dalton looks like the QB they wanted him to be when he was drafted in the 2nd round. He has completed 45 of 70 passes for 508 yards through 2 games. He has thrown 6 TDs against only 1 interception and boasts a 108.5 QB rating. Yes, I’m talking about Andy Dalton. I loved what I saw in him at TCU, but to this point, he hasn’t really taken that to this level. Maybe this is the year he puts it together. As expected, AJ Green is his main target. He has 11 catches for 161 yards and 4 TDs, including 3 in the first half last night. Tyler Boyd (9-117-1) is becoming a solid #2 receiver. TE Tyler Eifert, when healthy, is one of the best in the game. If his health fails him (again), CJ Uzomah and Tyler Kroft are able backups. Apparently, if your name is Tyler, you catch balls in Cincinnati.

Joe Mixon bolsters the running game. Through 2 games he has 179 yards on 38 carries for a 4.7 average. Bengals fans got a scare last night when he was on the sideline holding his knee with a ‘probable’ status to return. Giovani Bernard is more than able as his backup, but he doesn’t provide what Mixon does out of the backfield. Bernard is a good receiving threat and a good change of pace guy though.

How far will they go? Only time will tell. Living in the Cincinnati area, I’ve seen the early season excitement too many times to get fired up yet. This hasn’t ended well the last few decades. Bengals fans should be patient. See how they do against the Steelers or when they go to Baltimore. In the coming weeks they have Carolina, Atlanta, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City. With the exception of Miami, these will be true tests.

It’ll be interesting to see what lies ahead for the Cincinnati Bengals. Their fans deserve success, especially after the misery of the last 28 years. The excitement is high here, I can tell you that much. Now we’ll see if the Bengals come through for them.

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