There is just something about those orange jerseys.
The Cincinnati Bengals (5-3) have stumbled in recent weeks, so what better time than Sunday to roll out out a beloved uniform combination to ensure the season stays on track against the New Orleans Saints (7-1).
The Cincinnati Bengals are 20-6-1 all-time while playing in the tiger orange and a perfect 6-0 when they pair that top with black pants. They’ll put that undefeated record on the line when they take on Drew Brees and the Saints.
Let’s take a look back at each of those victories in the Orange and Black.
11/7/2004: Cincinnati 26, Dallas 3
This was a bit of a statement game for the young Bengals team led by second-year signal-caller Carson Palmer. Marvin Lewis stuck to his roots in this one relying on a stout defensive performance and a 4-for-4 day from the leg of Shayne Graham.
Cowboys quarterback Vinny Testaverde showed his age in this one, the 40-year old veteran lost a fumble and threw three interceptions in the loss. The Bengals grinded it out on offense and pulled off the only big play of the game (76-yard TD catch by Matt Schobel) to pick up the victory in front of a crowd of 65,721.
The second-largest attendance in the history of Paul Brown Stadium up to that point.
11/28/04: Cincinnati 58, Cleveland 48
That’s right. Three of the six victories in this uniform combo have come in The Battle of Ohio, a rivalry Cincinnati has dominated since hiring Marvin Lewis (22-8 in 15 seasons).
This goes down as one of the craziest games in NFL history, Kelly Holcomb threw for 413 yards, 5 TDs…. and lost by 10. Almost 1,000 yards of total offense and 106 points made this the second highest-scoring game in NFL history, trailing only the Redskins’ 72-41 victory over the Giants on Nov. 27, 1966.
Rudi Johnson ran for 202 yards and two scores while Holcomb and Carson Palmer combined for nine touchdown passes but Holcomb’s second interception of the day was taken to the house by Deltha O’Neal.
The shutdown corner ceiled a victory for Cincinnati and the eventual resignation of Butch Davis.
12/11/2005: Cincinnati 23, Cleveland 20
The jersey color coincidence became a trend after the Bengals moved to 3-0 in the orange threads. The victory was just as “historic” this time around, as the Bengals notched ten victories in a season for the first time since their 1988 Super Bowl run. They’d go on to clobber the Detroit Lions 41-17 a week later to clinch the AFC North.
Cincinnati rode a season-high in rushing yards (189) and carries (30) from Rudi Johnson to grind out the victory. Johnson and the offense set Shayne Graham up for a game-winning field goal and he hit it as time expired to notch a win over the intrastate rival.
Dec. 11, 2005, marks the last time the Browns held a lead in the all-time series (33-32). The Bengals swept them in 2006 and haven’t looked back.
12/4/16: Cincinnati 32, Philadelphia 14
Who could’ve guessed that the Bengals brass wasn’t a fan of the Orange and Black? They shelved the combination for a full decade before breaking them out in a slump-buster against Carson Wentz and the Eagles.
The Bengals offense returned to its 2015 form, posting 29 points in their first six possessions, the first time they achieved that since Carson Palmer threw more touchdowns (five) than incompletions (four) in a 45-10 win against the Chicago Bears back in 2009.
Dalton played one of his best games of the 2016 season throwing for 332 yards, and two touchdowns, all while the offensive line didn’t give up a sack.
10/8/17: Cincinnati 20, Buffalo 16
A.J. Green clearly felt left out of the Orange and Black party when he was sidelined against the Eagles, he made up for that absence in last year’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills.
7 catches. 189 yards. 1 touchdown.
That marked Green’s third-highest yardage total of his career, and he was an integral part in the Bengals and Bills chances. The former Georgia Bulldog dropped two passes that were intercepted and he lost a fumble along the way but the Orange and Black power was too much to overcome. Andy Dalton threw for a season-high 328 yards in the game and moved the Bengals one game behind Pittsburgh for the division lead.
Two things that didn’t happen again for the rest of 2017.
11/26/17: Cincinnati 30, Cleveland 16
His name is Joe and he said hello against Cleveland.
Mixon and the Bengals finally got the running game rolling in this one as the rookie ran for a career-high 114 yards and one touchdown. In one of three games all season that the Bengals posted 30-plus points, they finally got the running game going.
Looking back, this was the game where the Bengals offense started turning the corner under offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Cincinnati is a perfect 7-0 when Lazor’s offense puts up 30-plus points.
If trends hold true, the Bengals will have to put up 30 or more if they want to end Nola’s win streak, but trends don’t seem to matter to the win column when Cincy enters The Jungle in orange and black threads.
Blog of Football Sorrows: Week 13
Today I officially changed the name of this game recap blog. It just fits. To be positive about this iteration of the Bengals is to be a master of the mind that I cannot comprehend (aka delusional).
They’re done. I didn’t think they had much hope for the playoffs before the game, and they certainly don’t now. The injuries are a problem, but they aren’t the problem. The offense has been stale for weeks thriving on an identity-less scheme filled with dink and dunk passes and zero creativity. They now have four games left. The Raiders seem winnable, but with the hope of starting over, do we fans want that? Do we want there to be a glimmer of hope in management’s eyes? I don’t. I want change, and that doesn’t happen by winning any remaining games, this year. Lose em all, blow it up, let’s start fixing the problems that have been ignored for too long.
Jeff Driskel, to no fault of his own, was meh. Which is much the story of 2018. The game plan, in the beginning, seemed to be for him to get momentum built through screens and flat routes…but then they kept the training wheels on. Second quarter, third quarter…it kept going. The Bengals fell behind on the scoreboard and their answer was to run more crossing routes and short outs? Cincinnati ran RPO plays…and only passed. They asked an athletic quarterback who can move to stand tall in the pocket and fend off pressure from a defense with its ears pinned back matching up with a bad and battered offensive line. Kind of like James mentioned on the post-game pod, how bad is Cedric Ogbuehi that the answer to filling in for Cordy Glenn is the starting left guard and not your former first round pick, who is actually supposed to be a left tackle? So the coaching game plan was to tell Driskel to grin and bear it behind an uninspired line with uninspired play calling? But, you know, Marvin Lewis says “We’ve got to do our jobs better. The players have to execute the game plan the way it is coached.” What? The game plan hasn’t changed in 10 years! Different personnel, different opponents, different circumstances, same stale, boring, dull, lifeless, clueless plan. I get sick to my stomach when I listen to Marvin do a press conference.
The only thing left is the future, whatever may come. I know that is bleak. Not one of you reading these words can say, with a straight face, that you can see a different coach roaming the sidelines in 2019 who isn’t Marvin or Hue Jackson. We know. We know there isn’t going to be any change, and that’s why the stadium is empty. That’s why the orange in the stands at Paul Brown Stadium was Bronco orange and not Bengal orange. The sound at the end of the game? Cheers and applause, because anyone still there was a fan of the visiting victors. There’s no one left to boo because they’ve been booing for so long they’ve lost interest. It is understood that the most likely outcome this season, if change comes at all, is that Hue takes the reigns. We’ll go from a boring, uninspired, regularly out-maneuvered coach to a joke of a coach. So how can anyone care? I looked at tickets before the game. You could have sit 12 rows back in the endzone for $35…and I said no. Why? Because the joke that is the visual of the stands at PBS is the last thing we fans have left to tell ownership to get their rear in gear and fix this. Will they? You tell me…
Follow @jefffcarr and @lockedonBengals on Twitter for more angst Bengals content.
A lot of Bengals fans (myself included) wondered before the year why a young team with so much talent was pegged with worse Super Bowl odds than our in-state neighbors.
In the eyes of Las Vegas, it didn’t matter that the Bengals rallied to end last season at 7-9 with a signature victory over the Baltimore Ravens. It didn’t matter that the Bengals made legitimate offseason moves to sure up the offensive line. It didn’t matter that Bill Lazor was given a whole offseason to install his system or that Teryl Austin was bringing a turnovers-or-bust mentality with him from Detroit.
It. Didn’t. Matter.
The only thing that mattered was the face of the franchise returning for his 16th year. Marvin Lewis is and always will be the reason people around the NFL don’t take the Bengals seriously and it’s become both a blessing and a curse.
When Lewis arrived in 2003, he inherited what many considered to be one of the worst franchises in pro sports at the time. The players were using old jock straps, it was a dark time in Bengals history. Though to Lewis’ credit, he rebuilt this franchise into something fans could actually be proud of.
They became competitive, they got to the base of Championship Mountain, but that’s not good enough. Of the six coaches in the NFL who’ve been at the helm for at least a decade, Marvin Lewis is the only one without a Super Bowl trophy.
As of Nov. 28, Cincinnati has lost five of their past six games, their defense is the worst in the league, the offense can’t operate without A.J. Green, and they’ve fired one coach in waiting while rehiring another. That go-ahead score against Pittsburgh in mid-October feels like it happened in 2015.
The Bengals might not have moved on from Marvin, but I have, there’s nothing else I need to see following that 35-20 beatdown this past Sunday. ESPN has pegged Lewis with a 60 percent chance to be fired and though this might be for nothing, here are two head coaching paths the Bengals could choose to down in January.
Anyone But Hue Jackson
That’s really all that needs to be said. Hue Jackson is a great POSITION coach, but he has proved over a large sample size that he is inept as a HEAD coach. Jason La Canfora reported before the Browns game that Jackson has a real shot to replace Lewis if he steps down or takes a front office role.
Fans would be less excited about this than retaining Lewis, especially if he’s in the building overseeing nine of the 10 or 11 losses this team is headed for. Who are we kidding here, this is Lewis’ best friend and if anyone has shown the ability to persuade Mike Brown over the last 16 years, it’s Marvin Lewis.
Jackson is the clear frontrunner if a coaching change ends up happening.
A former Bengals player from 1995-98, This is the home run hire for Cincinnati. Bieniemy is in his first season as offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs and I don’t have to throw stats in here to prove why that’s been a success.
As a former player for the franchise, Bieniemy has that familiarity that Brown always looks for in new hires. He could come in and immediately offer a fresh perspective on this roster, answer the Andy Dalton question, and start to move this organization into a new era.
Bieniemy has primarily coached running backs before taking over for Matt Nagy this season and some great ones at that: Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Kareem Hunt have all learned and thrived under Bieniemy. Imagine his expertise paired with the talent of Joe Mixon.
Oh and for those concerned with the “lack of coaching experience” after just one season as an OC, just look at the past two guys to hold Bieniemy’s current spot. Doug Pederson went from Chiefs OC to winning a Super Bowl, Nagy has turned the Bears from a laughing stock to a contender in his first season. Those expectations might not be fair for Bieniemy, but the blueprint is out there for Mike Brown to make a championship hire.
A Sucker Until the Bitter End
Am I frustrated? Yes. Do I look back at week 5 when the Cincinnati Bengals sported a 4-1 record and feel as though that was a lifetime ago? Sure. Here’s the thing, Stephen A. Smith said, and I don’t remember word for word, but if you continue to support the Bengals who continue to refuse to put a competent product on the field then you are a sucker. I must confess, I am a sucker.
Sure, I am in the camp that is counting down the days until things change…even though I do not know when that countdown will end. You can check out my last post for reference. That being said, I am still going to be a fan. I’m still rooting for my team. That won’t change. Heck, I even mentioned that I might go to the game, this Sunday, if I can get a deal on some lower bowl tickets.
I had a buddy tell me he’d rather get hit by a car than go to the game, and I can’t blame him. Heck, there might be more value in staying away from the stadium, to get the point across to Mr. Brown. Here’s the thing, though, I am actually sort of looking forward to what will happen with Jeff Driskel. Now, I’m not saying I want him to be theguy, but entertain me for the rest of the season. When we think of football, that’s the basis of what we’re looking for, entertainment. I believe Driskel has the possibility to be entertaining. Urban Meyer once thought he could be the next Tim Tebow. What that tells me is he has heart and toughness. Joe Goodberry broke down a play in which Andy Dalton ran against the Browns and Driskel later ran, against the exact same defensive look. Andy threw a pick and Driskel threw a TD, so who knows? Maybe this won’t be that awful.
So what are you thinking about the Bengals? Are you burning jerseys? Are you cancelling season tickets? Are you switching allegiances? Hit me up on the Twitter (@jefffcarr), or here in the comments section, I want to get a gauge. I don’t blame you if you do any of that, by the way. I can see why you’d want to switch allegiances (just don’t be a Steelers’ fan, that would be messed up). Just know that I will be here, still. There’s something in my DNA that no matter what Mr. Brown and the gang try to do to my fan heart, I keep coming back. It might physically hurt me to no longer be a Bengals fan, I don’t know, but I’m not going to find out. I keep hanging on to that super-slim hope that one day there will be a Super Bowl ring. One day I’ll get to sing “We are the Champions” in regards to my Bengals, and that will be enough to erase all these years of wondering if I could have better used my time on Sunday.