I’m not sure Marvin Lewis is a Bengals fan. I say this because when Carlos Dunlap pounced on a Pierre Garcon fumble and stormed home to seal victory over the Colts, Marvin was wondering if Dunlap should have worked the clock (haha, I know, some of you will note the irony there). I was wondering how I could send Dunlap cash, my car keys, the rights to my unborn children, and anything else he fancies. When Dunlap charged home like a LeBron James break away (OK, OK, not a LeBron James break away in the 2011 Finals) or, if you prefer, the way we’d like our running backs to, it marked a remarkably un-Bengals-like game in a season that has most onlookers, at the least, puzzled.
I don’t remember the Bengals holding a fourth quarter lead when the potential for spectacular self-destruction was there once during 2010. I don’t remember the Bengals blocking a field goal, well, ever. And a collective tiger-striped finger (claw?) certainly hovered over the self-destruct button against an 0-5 Colts team that were pegged as a potential banana skin for the Bengals. (How something can be called “a potential banana skin,” I don’t know. A banana skin either is or isn’t. It’s not a conditional item. But there we go.)
Things started well; A.J. Green’s touchdown was capped with a pirouette dismount that Shawn Johnson would have been thrilled with. Jerome Simpson had catch after catch to show off his celebratory salute. Cedric Peerman made the most brutally wonderful block since Quan Crosby helped Bernard Scott beat the Steelers in ’09. By the way, our running back “committee” of Benson, Peerman, and Scott sounds like a collection of Dickensian lawyers, an idea not diluted when you consider their first names are Cedric, Cedric Edwin, and Bernard. I enjoy this.
By the fourth quarter, we had stormed into a 20-7 lead, Whitworth and Smith went all Gandalf (“You shall not pass!” You know…from Lord Of The Rings? No?) on the much-vaunted Colts pass-rush, PBS with the definitely-not-made-up number of 52,000 fans inside was roaring, and life looked sweet. Until, suddenly, Curtis Painter—who usually possesses the demeanour and physicality of an affable cartoon sheep—turned into, well, Peyton Manning. The only solution appeared to be Polyjuice Potion (that would be a Harry Potter reference. If I can find a way to work in District 9, that would conclude every fantasy movie I have seen as an adult male). Mike Nugent missed his first field goal of the season, ruining the rather anomalous stat that he had missed more extra points than field goals, and, it seemed, finally the demons of 2009 had returned.
Nobody had told Reggie Nelson (continuing his thoroughly excellent season) who stripped Pierre Garcon’s inexplicable pseudo-lateral into Carlos Dunlap’s lap. Leon Hall finally ending the secondary’s interception drought sealed the game.
Four and two headed into the bye week, joint top of the division, just what everyone expected, right? Of note to the national media might be Andy Dalton’s stat-line: 25 of 32 with one touchdown and no interceptions. I counted at least five drops. That is ridiculous. Cam Newton, for those of you keeping count, hit another multi-interception game and slipped to 1-4. Still, Rookie Of The Year is a fantasy football award. Right?
Final Score: Bengals 27-17.