In all three of the Bengals wins this season the team has come from behind in the fourth quarter to claim victory from the jaws of defeat, as it did on Sunday beating the Jags 30-20. Even more surprising is that the Bengals have had the perfect opportunity to win both of the games they lost in the fourth quarter this season as well.
Andy Dalton’s two fourth quarter INT’s sealed a five point loss versus the Niners in week three and the offense came up just short in a 24-22 loss to the Broncos. But in both games the Bengals offense had the ball at the end of the fourth quarter, down by one score, in position to win. If a few plays shake out a differently, the Bengals are suddenly 5-0 and find themselves grouped in with other suddenly resurgent franchises like the Lions and Bills.
The fact that they are even 3-2 is pretty amazing when you consider that after the preseason many so called “experts” pegged the Bengals as the worst team in the NFL. With a rookie QB, a rookie #1 WR and youth all over the offensive side of the field, the expectations were understandably low.
So at this point, can we start giving Marvin Lewis some credit for what he’s been able to squeeze out of this roster? For a team that only won four games a year ago, and was supposedly more talented, the 2011 Bengals have made up for it with heart and a lack of ego. Lewis has made the most of what he has at his disposal on defense with the Bengals surprisingly giving up the sixth lowest points per game total and giving up the least total yards in the entire NFL. On offense, first year OC Jay Gruden has done a great job of aligning his play calling with the strength of the young unit.
This Sunday the Bengals face a reeling Indianapolis Colts team in Cincinnati with the opportunity to be 4-2 heading into the bye week and equal last season’s win total. Six weeks ago, the previous sentence would’ve been considered completely insane. Heresy even! But now, it’s reality.