It wasn't good. In fact, it was bad, and I pretty much expected as much. Actually, I don't know anybody who didn't expect a convincing Patriots victory.
Now the Bengals head to the bye week with a 1-3 record, with about as much momentum as a spider trying to fight his way out of the toilet. They only have two healthy (but crappy) linebackers, and a head coach who looks stupid while he awkwardly walks up and down the sideline on his one futuristic-looking crutch. Plus, Chad Johnson and Carson Palmer were screaming at each other on national TV, which probably isn't a big deal, but then again, it's decidedly less awesome than (a.) winning the lottery, (b.) French kissing or (3.) eating onion bagels.
This is not my idea of fun.
I remain optimistic. Really.
The bye week will give some time for Willie, Rudi and the LBs to rest/heal, Levi to sharpen his game, Kooistra to get abducted, blah blah blah...
Even more importantly than that, the schedule is pretty easy from this point forward. Unless I doesn't know nothing, my favorite American football contestants will be favored in nine of the final twelve games, including the first three after the bye week (at KC, home versus NYJ and Pittsburgh). Now, I'm obviously not considering these games layups, but the Bengals won't be overmatched for any other game on the schedule. At least I don't think so. The only game remaining that will see the Bengals as a decided underdog will be the Dec. 2 game at Pittsburgh, but that's a long way away, and you know, things can happen and stuff. Shit, Scott Kooistra might be on a milk carton by then. Anyway...
Take a look at the final twelve games:
at KC, NYJ, PIT, at BUF, at BALT, ARZ, TEN, at PITT, STL, at SF, CLE, at MIA.
I ask you...Do any of those teams scare you? Me neither. And I realize the Bengals aren't exactly the '72 Dolphins, but it wouldn't be a miracle if the Bengals finished the season by winning eight of the final twelve, giving them a 9-7 record and a shot at the playoffs.
Regardless, I think the first quarter of game No. 5--at Arrowhead, after a bye week--will tell us all we need to know about Marvin Lewis. This is not an exaggeration. If the troops come out flat in Kansas City, you can forget about the rest of the season.
If the Bengals play with purpose from the outset, playing January football is a realistic possibility.
That's all for now. More Bengal words on the way...
(Fun stat department: Mike Vrabel has caught 9 career TD passes; Akili Smith only threw five six-pointers in his distinguished career.)