Sunday, October 12th appeared to be a day that held a lot of promise in Cincinnati. It was a day where the sun was shining from morning until nightfall. A day where the city’s two most beloved professional sports teams had games. And not just games for each, but home contests for both that had no time conflict. I woke up Sunday morning feeling pretty darn good about the day in front of me. When I got into bed, all that excitement had turned into bitter sadness.
First of all to start the day, the Bengals put on yet another abysmal performance. You better believe that a mediocre at best Buccaneers team came in to Paul Brown Stadium, and stole the game in the 4th quarter from the home team. The Bengals a month ago were the talk of the NFL. The team that had two of the game’s most high-profile wide receivers lining up alongside each other. A team that was coming off of a AFC North Championship in which they shocked the NFL with their steady play. A team that many expected to roll deep into the playoffs. A team that Cincinnati was buzzing about 24/7..
Well today brought to light some major realities for Who Dey Nation.
1. This Bengals team is now 2 and 3. They have not even really hit the real schedule yet. Sure they have played a couple of tough teams in New England and Baltimore. But now they enter a 4 game stretch vs the Falcons, Dolphins, Steelers, and Colts. And the schedule only gets tougher as the year goes on.
2. I am all out of excuses for number 9. Carson Palmer sadly will never be the star quarterback that we all loved and knew in 2005. Injuries and coaching have ruined this former Trojan star’s chance at being an elite QB in this League. The Bengals must draft a quarterback in the first round of next year’s draft or pick up a young quarterback via a trade or waivers. Sadly for the Bengals, at this point, they have no other QB options. So they will have to continue to bear with the Carson Palmer “Fiasco” Show.
3. Chad Ochocinco and TO are not gelling at all. Sure they have not had any internal/external issues. But they can never play well on the same day. Sadly, a situation is in the making. Just wait and see.
4. The Ravens and Steelers are real deal contenders. Sure Cincinnati escaped against Baltimore in Week 2. But both of these AFC North foes look to be serious contenders in the AFC and continue to get better. If only the Bengals could improve.
5. Bengals football is no longer fun to watch. Last year was not too enjoyable either, but at least the team was winning more than they lost. Bratkowski has no imagination offensively and Carson’s struggles can be very tough to watch at Sunday after Sunday. There is no excitement, even though this is a team that sports two of the game’s “most exciting” receivers. People have high expectations for this team. So their lack of on the field results are becoming all the more frustrating making it hard to watch.
I pray they can turn it around. But I can’t make any promises it will happen.
Also in Cincinnati today, the Reds played their first home playoff game in over 15 years. After a horrible effort in Game 2, this was the night where we would get our first win in postseason play in 15 years. Instead, the Reds have now lost 7 postseason games in a row dating back to the sweep the Braves dealt them in the 1995 NLCS.
This series was bad from Day 1. The Reds became the 2nd team in MLB history to be no hit in a playoff game (Don Larsen threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series). So we were Halladayed in Game 1. Then in Game 2, we built a 4 run lead. It was not enough sadly. One of the game’s elite fielding squads made 4 errors. Including a couple of bonehead plays by savvy veterans Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen. So we gave away Game 2 in as ugly of fashion as possible. And then there was Game 3. Surely this Red’s team could not be swept. This team was too good to go down in 3 games. I guess Cole Hamels had other plans. He 5 hit the NL’s number 1 offense on the way to a 5 hit shutout.
So lets recap what happened in this series. The Reds were the NL’s number 1 ranked offense this season. They muster up 4 total runs, were shut out twice, and only had 11 total hits (shutout in 2 of the 3 games). Talk about some firepower. Definitely not something we were accustomed to watching this year. The Reds made 72 total errors over the course of the season. This was the least in the National League. They also had a fielding percentage of .988, tied for tops in the League. In this 3 game set, 7 errors! Sadly, the Reds just didn’t quite have it this past week.
The good thing though. This team will keep its young core of big bats and great arms together to make another run next year. Hopefully our boys will be ready for the October lights and make the city proud. I am still proud of what they accomplished this year even though it ended so ugly.
All around, it was a rough day to be a Cincinnatian.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.