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|12-10-2010, 07:01 PM||#1|
A Son of Martha
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Cin-ful Bengals are Bungals again
Cin-ful Bengals are Bungals again
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Thursday December 9, 2010 11:59 PM
Despite great expectations, little has gone right for Cincinnati this season. AP file photo
PITTSBURGH — When the Cincinnati Bengals come to town this weekend, their baggage will include a nine-game skid loaded with losses that could have been or should have been wins.
They are the antithesis of the Steelers.
While the Steelers (9-3) keep finding ways to win, the Bengals (2-10) keep finding ways to lose.
These are the “Bungals” once again.
“It’s not like we can’t play,” wide receiver Terrell Owens said. “It’s not like we’re not a good team. We’ve been in every ballgame we played. Again, it’s the penalties and the turnovers that have obviously killed us.”
It’s been a comedy of errors for the Bengals, who have gone from first to worst in the AFC North Division.
Take for example their 24-21 loss to Tampa Bay on Oct. 10.
Playing at home, the Bengals led 21-14 with 2:28 left to play. But quarterback Carson Palmer, who already threw a pick-six earlier in the game, served up two more interceptions in the game’s final minutes.
The first of those picks allowed the Buccaneers to tie the score with 1:26 left. The second, with just 14 seconds left, allowed the Bucs to kick a game-winning field goal with one tick left on the clock.
It’s been more of the same ever since, including last week’s meltdown after the Bengals led New Orleans 30-27 late in the fourth quarter. But again, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, the Bengals blew it.
With the Saints facing fourth-and-2 from the Bengals’ 7-yard line with 34 seconds left, coach Sean Payton called time-out. He told quarterback Drew Drees to call “No-Brainer Freeze.” The Saints would line up and hope to draw the Bengals offside.
Sure enough, it worked.
Defensive tackle Pat Sims jumped. So the Saints got a new set of downs, and Brees threw a 3-yard game-winning TD pass on the next play.
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“It just hasn’t been our year,” wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said. “Games that we’ve been close in are games that we pulled out last year. That’s the difference between this and last year. We’ve lost games that we found a way to win last year.”
On the flip side, that’s the opposite of what’s happened to the Steelers.
Last year, the Steelers missed the playoffs because of a five-game losing streak that included single-digit losses to Kansas City (4-12), Oakland (5-11) and Cleveland (5-11). But this year, the Steelers have yet to lose to a team with a losing record.
And they don’t plan to change that trend in the home stretch starting Sunday against the Bengals.
“If we would lose to the Bengals, that would wipe out everything we did in Baltimore,” linebacker James Harrison of a 13-10 slugfest victory Sunday against the Ravens.
“We definitely have to focus on this game because the last game took a lot out of everybody,” said linebacker James Farrior. “It was a very emotional game. Guys were really riding high going into that game. So we have to hone in and refocus and get ready for the next one.
“We expect the Bengals to come in and give us everything they’ve got. They have a lot of talent, and they have nothing to lose. So we know they’ll come out guns blazing.”
There’s a remote chance the Steelers can clinch a playoff berth Sunday. There are several scenarios in which they’ll secure at least a wild-card spot providing they win and other teams lose.
For the Steelers, it’s important that they play well early. They want to jump in front early and hope the Bengals resort to their mistake-filled ways.
“They’ve got a good record, we’ve got a bad record,” Palmer said. “So we’re going to go in there and try to spoil what they’ve got going on right now.”
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