Bengals Overcome Weak First Half to Overthrow Defending Champs
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair*” When Charles Dickens opened his novel regarding the prelude to the French Revolution, chances are that he had no idea that it would also fit perfectly with the events of Sunday, September 27, 2009 and the decades worth of events leading up to it in the National Football League. In this case, it became a tale of two halves of football, and the clash between two family owned franchises who have taken decidedly divergent paths throughout the course of time.
The fans of the Cincinnati Bengals chant “Who Dey” and have come to understand frustration of both futility and near success so often that fans have on occasion decided to rise up in their own versions of “revolutions” over the years. The fans of the Steelers conversely are obsessed with hand towels and have won multiple NFL titles including last year’s championship which they are in the process of attempting to defend.
The first half of Sunday’s contest looked like one team came to play and the other missed the wakeup call and were sleepwalking through thirty minutes of play. The Bengals were hapless on offense as they seemingly couldn’t get out of their own way. The Steelers moved the ball via the ground and the air seemingly at will. Willie Parker began to look like the one fans are used to seeing instead of the ineffective version he’s been this year. He even caught a few and ran a good ways after pulling it in. Big Ben was up to his old tricks, seemed to be trapped and he’d get away and sling a sidearm pass to an open man as the visitors chewed up yards, ate up clock but they mistakenly didn’t put the home team away. Too often the men of steel fell soft and settled for field goals instead of touchdowns. The first half ended lopsided in every statistical category…except the score. A game that could easily have been 28-0 was as it stood in reality 13-3 in favor of the defending world champions.
The second half however, was a whole different story. The defense continued to be strong and rose up to flip the momentum big time when cornerback Jonathan Joseph picked off a Ben Roethlisberger pass and raced to the end zone. From that point on, the heroes came out for the team who had become quite familiar with everything that can go wrong blowing up right in its faces while the team with the golden touch found good fortune hard to find. The Steelers had spent three quarters mocking the home team’s efforts. Perhaps they should have saved energy for the final drives of the game. Pittsburgh couldn’t get anything going on offense and the Bengals put together an extended drive where several key third and forth downs were converted and the payoff came with under twenty seconds to go with a Carson Palmer to Andre Caldwell touchdown pass through all sorts of traffic in the end zone.
Both teams saw fortunes change and trends for both teams were reversed on this day. With the 23-20 victory the Bengals go to 2-1, and the world covering the NFL this year points out time after time that aside from one fluke of a play on opening day it could be 3-0. But would it have been as such, we won’t ever know. Perhaps the bad fortune of the Denver game forged the strength to produce Sunday’s victory. Quite a game, it won’t soon be forgotten. This team is certainly building something here. It is something powerfully strong, and it’s headed in an entirely new direction than has been taken previously. We look forward to each and every twist and turn along the way.
* A Tale of Two Cities –opening lines by Charles Dickens
About the Author
Written by Daryl Miller
I'm a lifelong sports fan. From short track auto racing, hockey, baseball, football and everything else...I love it.