Thursday was Hallowe’en. A Hallowe’en on which the Bengals had a football game. Despite the obvious warning signs, Peter King’s TheMMQB.com ran a piece that day on how awesome Geno Atkins is as a football player, teammate, boyfriend, and human. Despite the dangers, Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com wrote a piece about the sheer beauty of the Bengals defense and specifically it’s lynchpin, Geno Atkins. Despite the dire potential, this site’s Justin Williams did a piece for the magazine on, yep, Geno Atkins (plug, plug), which hit newsstands on, yes, Hallowe’en.
I’m not saying ALL the blame for Geno’s season ending injury (the Bengals season ending injury?) lies with these guys, but come on, it’s Hallowe’en. Did I mention it was Hallowe’en?
Anyway, after a few days of weeping, I was finally able to look back at the Bengals overtime loss to the Dolphins with some small degree of ludicrous hometown bias. Should a team with ambitions to run deep in the playoffs lose to a mediocre roster on the brink of racist-hazing collapse? No. But without the team’s best O-lineman (Whitworth), best D-lineman (Atkins), best defensive back (Hall), as well as contributors at end, safety, and linebacker (Geathers, Mays, Maualuga), and by the end of the game without our best running back (the sensational Gio Bernard), perhaps we should just be impressed that the game lasted until an overtime safety on Thursday Night Football.
The only real positive was the electric emergence of Gio Bernard, who not only produced the touchdown of the season thus far, but bagged another, had his best game statistically and sparked life (wait, Hallowe’en—Frankenstein pun?) into a Bengals offense that had the life sucked out of it (Vampire pun!) by Sanu’s case of the drops, Andy Dalton’s worst game in a month, and a dodgy penalty on Jermaine Gresham that wiped out a blistering score by Marvin Jones.
Fortunately, the Bengals lead on the division remains in tact thanks to the Browns ability to turn up exclusively for divisional games, the Ravens cutting half their team, and the Steelers being rubbish. That lead will disappear (Like a pumpkin at midnight? Wait. No, it’s the other way round isn’t it? Oh well.) pretty damn quick if the team can’t get healthier and hold its own in the next fortnight as the Ravens and Browns would be more than happy to make this a division of 8-8 and 9-7 teams fighting down to the wire for a postseason slot. And now the Bengals best two defensive players won’t be there to hold the fort down.
Final Score: Dolphins 22, Bengals 20 (OT)
Man Of The Match: Gio Bernard. His second touchdown was genuinely breathtaking, the coolest score since Jerome Simpson’s super somersault.