Optimism In Cincinnati Despite 0-2 Start

by Kevin Burton

   Joe Burrow showed last night why he was the number one draft pick. The Bengals showed why they were drafting number one.   

   Cincinnati was last against the run last year and egregiously bad last night. So three touchdowns and 316 yards from their rookie quarterback was not enough.  They lost to Cleveland 35-30.

   So now they are 0-2, which they are used to. Cincy fans are not used to this level of optimism however.   

   Everybody is saying Burrow is the real deal. Everybody.  So it’s hard for Bengals fans to keep from dreaming of a rise first to relevance, then contention, then who knows?

   The run defense was porous last night, but keep in mind Cincy was playing without two of their top three defensive tackles.

   I had planned a Bengals post today all along. I was happy to find out Cincinnati had a Thursday night game in week two. That meant not having to write so much about the first debacle, a 16-13 loss to the Chargers Sunday. 

  That loss was partly on me because I forgot to wear my Bengals pajama bottoms. It’s a mistake I would not repeat I assure you. 

   I’ve mentioned more than once on Page 7 how after years of support through thin and thin, I dropped the Browns as my favorite team. After overthinking the matter I landed on Cincinnati as the team to adopt.

   I dumped the Browns for having drafted Baker Mayfield, widely regarded as a no-class boor by people who should know.  His biggest sin I admit, was planting an Oklahoma Sooner flag at midfield at Ohio Stadium after a close win there.

   So now these battles of Ohio have more meaning for me. Of course “meaning” is a term I use loosely here, what with a murderous virus lurking everywhere.

   Before the season I went ahead and trash talked, not that I believed it all. I told my Steeler-fan brother the Bengals would sweep Pittsburgh and get a wild-card berth. I don’t really believe either, but I was trying to whip up the fever.

   The Sporting News predicted a 6-10 season and last place, but did not paint the usual picture of futility for the Bengals. 

   “The Bengals will compete harder with Joe Burrow to make this division arguably the best in the NFL. He’s that good of a number one overall pick, to build on his historic passing season at LSU in an offense tailored to his strengths,” the magazine wrote.

   CBS Sports had the Bengals at 7-9 also in last, but made this bold prediction “Joe Burrow sets NFL record for most TD passes by a rookie.”

    I read that and thought, yeah, now I’ve got more skin in this game.

   “This record is currently held by AFC North rival Baker Mayfield, which means it will probably feel especially gratifying for Burrow if he’s able to knock the Browns quarterback out of the record book,” was the explanation on the CBS Sports website.

   Mayfield threw 27 touchdowns as a rookie. Burrow had three last night and is likely to light it up this year unless his arm falls off. Last night he threw more than 60 passes trying to get Cincy back in the game.   

    “The other upside for Burrow is that he’s going to have a lot of receiving talent to work with in Cincinnati with guys like A.J. Green, Tyler BoydTee HigginsAuden TateAlex Erickson and John Ross, plus running backs Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard,” CBS reported.

   “Also, there’s a good chance we’ll see Burrow put up big numbers this year no matter how the Bengals play. If the Bengals are good, it will likely be because Burrow is having a phenomenal rookie season. If the Bengals are bad, we could see Burrow put up some huge numbers in garbage time, which could help his touchdown total,” CBS speculated.

   That reasoning sounded great to me, until I read that CBS is also predicting Dallas will win the Super Bowl.  Now I’m not so sure.

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