Todays front page of the cincy sports section...
Give in to Steeler rage
Just don't expect the Bengals to
BY PAUL DAUGHERTY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It's OK to hate the city of Pittsburgh and everyone in it. If you've boiled your entire autumn down to Sept. 24 and Dec. 31 - Bengals at Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh here - don't call a doctor. There's nothing wrong with you. We might look back on last Jan. 8 as the start of a beautiful and mutual loathing that could last for generations. Think Red Sox-Yankees. Nothing wrong with that.
Boo on, Who Deys. May you never forget Kimo von Oelhoffen.
Just don't expect the Bengals themselves to dwell on it.
As David Pollack says, "You're not mad at the Steelers. You're maybe a little envious. The Bible tells you not to covet things, but you're coveting that. You know how easily you could have been there. We could have won. We should have won. But this is a new year. You get older, you get wiser. Hopefully."
The Bengals are in Indianapolis tonight. They've plowed through the preseason, winning so easily and so pain-free that you're starting to believe the biggest thing holding them back from playing in February is their ability to handle success and failure. The mental game matters. Which brings us back to last Jan. 8.
You'd think a loss like that, in a game like that, might make players ponder oral surgery with a pair of pliers. You would guess they would be slamming free weights while picturing Kimo's face on the floor beneath them.
Carson Palmer said he "hated" the Steelers. Recently, lineman Willie Anderson said he watched Pittsburgh's impressive road-game run through the AFC playoffs "in sickness. I was just sick the whole playoffs."
Remember the Alamo. Remember Pearl Harbor. Wormer's a Dead Man. Pound Pittsburgh.
You would think the Bengals were thinking like that.
Anderson points to a clock-timer on the wall of the home dressing room at Paul Brown Stadium. It's eliminating time by seconds, minutes, hours and days. "Countdown to Kansas City" is painted on it. The Bengals open in Kansas City Sept. 10.
"That clock don't say Countdown to Pittsburgh. We can't put our season on beating Pittsburgh," he said.
But if you're smart, you take advantage of losing to prepare to win the next time.
Here's what the Bengals still carry from Jan. 8. Here is what good should come from the franchise's most devastating loss in 15 years:
Keep your poise. Do your job.
"Don't let the game get too big for you" was how Anderson put it.
"Some things happened during the game besides Carson's injury," Anderson said. In the heat of the organization's biggest game in 15 years, having to deal with a stunning injury to their most important player was too much. The Bengals fractured, for all to see.
"We had several guys this offseason say, 'I really lost my head during that game. I lost my control, I lost my cool to where I couldn't play right,' " Anderson recounted.
"That was refreshing to hear. You see guys learning from it: Don't let the game be too big for you. It got too big for us. Pittsburgh wanted it to be too big for us. We did get rattled. We still had a chance to win. We were still a good enough team to overcome that, if we hadn't lost it mentally. By the time the fourth quarter came, Pittsburgh had it."
No Bengal felt cheated by how the game turned in the second half, after the full effect of Palmer's injury had been felt.