Observations from the Bengals 23-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens…
-A few things: This game didn’t really matter (in terms of playoff scenarios for either team), featured a bigger dose of Tyrod Taylor and Bruce Gradkowski than any human should be subjected to pay full price for, and was about as exciting as watching someone stand in the aisle at Home Depot and select light fixtures to install in their bathroom…but it was a win. And it was a win against the Ravens. And it was a win that put the team at 10 total victories—including a 7-1 record in the second half of the year—as they head into the postseason. Overall, that puts the Bengals in the black for the afternoon.
-The biggest development of the day actually had nothing to do with the Bengals game. The Houston Texans upchucked their contest against the Indianapolis Colts, eventually leading to a rematch this Saturday of last season’s wild card matchup. Bengals fans are hoping this year’s result is a tad different.
-Not much you can take away from this one, with the majority of the Bengals top-line studs putting in about a half of work, and most of their Raven colleagues contributing even less. But Carlos Dunlap’s tip-pick-TD effort was exhilarating (even at the expense of the aforementioned Tyrod Taylor), Marvin Jones finally reeled in his first scoring reception, and there were no major injuries. Geno Atkins was a natural disaster once again for the opposing o-line, even in limited action, and Vontaze Burfict went all complete-opposite-of-Rey-Mauluga. Bobbie Williams’ (or Uncle Bobbie, as he’s known to my family) return to town, however, was a struggle for the big guy.
-Somehow, the infinite number of suddenly vacant head coaching positions appear to be eliciting only a few rumbles of interest in Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer (neither of whom were even mentioned in this piece). Personally, I don’t quite understand the (apparently overhyped) infatuation with Gruden as a head coaching candidate. I think he’s smart and talented and is a blessing to the staff in comparison to Bob Bratkowski, but he’s still inconsistent and green. There are full quarters of gameplay where I wonder what the heck he must be thinking. Zimmer, on the other hand, is being severely underrated in my opinion. Every team that fills its position without at least offering the man an interview is being short-sighted. (Having said that, every Bengals fan is fine with this and desperately wants him to stay.)
–Doc was unimpressed with Sunday’s outcome. Hopefully the team is too. It’s all (or mostly) for naught if Saturday proves fruitless.
-Also, shame on me for not mentioning this sooner, but you need to be reading Alex Pappademas’ “I Suck at Football” column if you aren’t already. Take an hour and pour through it from the beginning. Good sports writing, better just-plain-writing.
-More to come this week on Saturday’s big matchup.
Parting Thought: Who Dey dancing.