Week 1 Recap: Numbers Game

I don’t know any Chicago Bears fans. Which is kind of weird. I’ve come across Bucs fans in New York bars, I’ve sat next to a Panthers fan in class, and frankly I can’t go five minutes without seeing a bloody Steelers supporter. A whole family of them was in front of us at Versailles, and frankly you began to see why those Frenchies were so into the guillotine.

But no Bears fans. So most of what I know about them is that Jay Cutler is the only professional athlete whose reality TV girlfriend isn’t a Kardashian. After weeks of tantalizing Hard Knocks, a pretty sexy draft and wildly unreasonable expectations from the national media, it was only fitting that the Bengals should open the season by utterly dominating the Bears in every facet of the game, master the deep ball from Andy to AJ, be a comfortable 11 points up with time winding down…and then lose 24-21, our one shot at a game-tying drive snuffed out by a stupid foul for “unnecessary roughness.” That’s right, fans from across the pond: There legitimately is a foul in this game for being unnecessarily rough.

AJ Green claimed the defeat was his fault because, you know, he only caught two touchdowns and 162 yards. So let’s blame him. Not the fact that we used all of our timeouts apparently during the halftime locker room talk. Or the fact that our much-vaunted D-line couldn’t get a single sack against one of the NFL’s worst O-lines. Or the fumbles and interceptions at key moments. Nope, it’s AJ’s fault.

Perhaps my favourite (Ed’s note: You are so British.) snafu was when we burned a time out because we had too many players on the field, and then a moment later burned another because we had too few. That’s right, the Bengals essentially lost this game because nobody on the team can reliably count to 11. Given this, I would like to offer my services. I know Mike Brown is notoriously frugal (cough-cough) and so, even though a Super Bowl—which this would absolutely guarantee—would be worth kagillions, I am willing, for the paltry sum of $5,000 per game (plus travel and expenses; duh, this isn’t charity) be the official dude who stands on the sideline and counts how many players we have. Every single play. That’s commitment. WWTSD? (What would the Steelers do?) This team can’t lose another game to counting. It’s just sad.

There were some highlights, of course. Andy and AJ seemed on the same page (especially deep), rookie TE Tyler Eifert made some nice plays, and Vontaze Burfict grabbed his first interception since he picked of Tim Tebow (seriously) in preseason of his rookie year. Oh, also, there were a whole bunch of snaps where there were the right number of players on the field. You know, exactly eleven, no more or less, so that’s good.

Perhaps the best takeaway is simply this: The rest of the once all-powerful AFC North had a miserable weekend. The Browns lost to a poor Miami team, the Steelers didn’t score for 59 minutes against a weak Titans squad, and Peyton Manning broke approximately 15 NFL records while obliterating the Ravens. Losing to the Bears in a game we should have won is, at least, respectable.

Final Score: Bears 24, Bengals 21

Man Of The Match: AJ Green, regardless of what he may say.

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