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mesaSteeler
09-26-2009, 08:17 AM
Victory over Steelers would validate Bengals
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:15 AM
By Bill Rabinowitz
http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2009/09/26/bengals_0926.ART_ART_09-26-09_C1_1NF6L3O.html?sid=101

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

CINCINNATI -- The Bengals' season was supposed to be already doomed.

After an only-the-Bengals-could-blow-this loss to Denver in the opener, Cincinnati was expected to submit to a beat-down in Green Bay. Then, the conventional thinking went, it'd be time to cue the calliope music and endure another season as an NFL punching bag.

But opportunity has replaced oblivion for the Bengals. They outplayed the Packers last week, even if they couldn't help but make it interesting with a treacherous final minute.

Now the Bengals really have a chance to establish credibility by following their victory in Lambeau Field with something truly rare -- a win over the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in Paul Brown Stadium.

Cincinnati has not beaten the Steelers (1-1) at home since 2001. Dick LeBeau was then the Bengals coach. Chad Ochocinco was just a rookie.

"I can't even remember it, it was so long ago," Ochocinco said.

The Steelers have done more than beat the Bengals. They have beaten them up. Pittsburgh ended Cincinnati's magical 2005 season in a playoff best remembered for Kimo von Oelhoffen's knee-wrecking hit on quarterback Carson Palmer.

Last year, receiver Hines Ward introduced the Steelers' way to Keith Rivers by breaking the rookie linebacker's jaw with a block so brutal that the NFL has since outlawed that kind of hit.

While Ward has remained unapologetic, Rivers dodged prodding by reporters about any desired retribution by giving ultra-vanilla answers.

Such restraint seems to fit with the Bengals' determination to be a more mature team.

When defensive end Antwan Odom was asked about being named AFC defensive player of the week after getting five sacks against Green Bay, he had already turned the page.

"I'm pretty excited about that, but it's Pittsburgh week," he said. "You've got to move on from that. That was last week."

The Bengals could be facing the Steelers at an opportune time. Pittsburgh's running game has sputtered, and the defense is without injured safety Troy Polamalu.

Palmer was a roommate of Polamalu's at Southern California and has empathy for his friend's inability to play. But that goes only so far.

"I'm absolutely glad he's not going to be out there," Palmer said. "We need to win this game, and our chances are better when Troy is not on the football field."

Especially with Polamalu out, the Bengals have a chance to overturn the Steelers' traditional advantage in hitting. The addition of veteran safety Roy Williams and rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga has given Cincinnati's defense a punishing dimension it has traditionally lacked.

"A lot more talented all the way across the board," Ochocinco said of the Bengals defense. "More physical, faster. I'd say the talent level is ridiculous."

Cincinnati's offense scored 31 points last week, but penalties and turnovers are an issue. If they get cleaned up, the Bengals truly could be formidable.

Sunday's game is the first of a pivotal stretch for Cincinnati in the AFC North. The Bengals play at Cleveland and at Baltimore the next two weeks.

"Whoever comes out of this stretch can kind of control their own destiny," Palmer said. "If you come out of it 3-0, you have a really good edge because you have two more home games against division opponents, and you expect to win those."

But beating the Ravens or Browns at home hasn't proved to be nearly as difficult as beating the Steelers.

"Everybody knows it's a big game," Palmer said. "Every division game (is), and you combine that with your first division home game and that they're the defending champs, it's a recipe for a big game."

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

AllD
09-26-2009, 08:43 AM
It is still early. Any win is validation for the Bungles. Let see who owns the division in December.

stillers4me
09-26-2009, 08:47 AM
It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

Bengals train to crash by mid season...as usual.

PalmerSteel
09-26-2009, 11:26 AM
sure our records are tied to make the game look more enticing nationally, but its still our 2nd house, HEINZ FIELD WEST!!!! :tt03::tt02::helmet:

BlastFurnace
09-26-2009, 11:41 AM
That is laughable. So if the Bengals go 2-1, they are legit....talk about low standards.

SteelC7
09-26-2009, 01:41 PM
who cares if they win, its early in the season it doesnt matter, the fact that the bungles are so happy to be .500 is pathetic, were .500 and we all think were having a horrible season, which at the moment we are, bottom line the bungles are so pathetic that if they win this game theyll think theyre the best in the league, and WHEN they crash and burn b4 midseason, all us steeler fans will just laugh and shake our heads, cuz we knew it would happen, hell we watch it happen every year, its so much fun, it never gets old

sharkweek
09-26-2009, 09:08 PM
The only thing that will validate the Bengals is at least a playoff win, this is not the playoffs.

And considering they have yet to win the Superbowl...

I remember the last time the Bengals won the division, we ended up with one for our thumb.

stlrtruck
09-26-2009, 09:54 PM
It is kind of sad that they take a week 3 game and turn it in to their SB. I bet if they won this game and lost the rest of the season, they'd be happy as a pig in slop!

markymarc
09-27-2009, 10:45 AM
Amazing how a team can be validated after the 3rd week. The Bungles will crash back to reality hard today!