Bengals move forward after back-to-back losses in OT

Monday was moving day at Paul Brown Stadium.

Moving on, after all, is really all the Cincinnati Bengals can do after suffering back-to-back overtime losses to fall to 6-4, making the AFC North Division race interesting again.

What was once a commanding lead when the Bengals were standing 6-2 at the midpoint of the season has been whittled to a one-game advantage in the loss column ahead of Baltimore (4-5) and Cleveland (4-5), with the Browns coming to town this week eyeing a season sweep.

“We pushed things forward very positively, now we’ve dug a little bit of a hole,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “We’ve got to climb out and play better this week against the Browns.”

Climbing out of holes is something the Bengals have done well this season. Staying out has been the bigger issue.

Three times this season the Bengals have erased double-digit deficits in the second half, but they’ve only turned one of those comebacks into a victory, overcoming a 16-point spread against Green Bay for a 34-30 victory in Week 3.

They trailed Miami 17-3 two weeks ago, stormed back to take a 20-17 lead and eventually lost in overtime 22-20 when Andy Dalton was sacked in the end zone for a safety.

Sunday they were down 17-0 in Baltimore before tying the game on a 51-yard Hail Mary to A.J. Green on the final play of regulation. But the rally was negated in overtime again as the Ravens won 20-17 on a Justin Tucker 46-yard field goal.

“I don’t think there’s anybody in our room that no matter how far we get down believes that we’re done,” Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. “I think our guys continue to battle back and we always have a belief that we’re going to win. We’ve proven we can come back from deficits and take leads and have a chance and put ourselves in position to win.

“We did that again (Sunday),” Gruden said. “Unfortunately you don’t get any bonus points for that. You still get the loss. But it is good to know that going into games next week and the week after and the week after that if we do get down, we will have the ability and perseverance to keep working and get ourselves back in the game without pointing fingers and hanging our heads and giving up.”

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth agreed, saying there is some inspiration diluting all of the the frustration of back-to-back overtime losses.

“We had a really bad day, but we were able to fight and make them have to earn every inch of it,” he said. “Penalties probably didn’t go our way, a couple of calls didn’t go our way and still we made teams go into overtime to beat us. That’s the kind of fight you want out of your team.

“Are you frustrated? Heck yeah,” he continued. “But understanding this team is going to make a team go to the wire to beat us every time we step on the field, to me that’s a great positive.”

The Bengals are only the 16th team in NFL history to lose back-to-back games in overtime, and they are just the second squad to do it while sitting in first place.

The 2002 Denver Broncos were the other team, falling in Weeks 12 and 13, and it cost them the division lead and eventually a playoff berth.

The Bengals remain confident — adamant, really — that they will move on and not meet a similar fate.

“It’s our division to lose,” safety George Iloka said. “We control our own destiny. If we do what we have to do, we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the year.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

5 takeaways from a Western and Southern Open first-timer
5 takeaways from a Western and Southern Open first-timer

This week I had my first Western and Southern Open experience.  Although it was cut short by a nasty rain storm, I saw enough to convince me I need to make a return trip.  Here are my top takeaways from my visit:  The Graeter’s turtle sundae really hit the spot, giving me the energy to seek out actual tennis.  I found it at...
Joey Votto is Kris Bryant’s favorite player
Joey Votto is Kris Bryant’s favorite player

Cubs fans may not be thrilled with star third baseman Kris Bryant’s favorite player. Bryant admitted that his top preferred player is Reds first baseman Kris Bryant. “He’s the best player ever,” Bryant said before Wednesday’s game versus Cincinnati. “He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking...
How the Ohio State offense is getting its swagger back
How the Ohio State offense is getting its swagger back

We’ve reached the point in the football preseason that themes can start to run into the ground.  “How will X be better than it was last year, coach?” is a well-worn question in July and August.  Whatever went wrong a season ago is inevitably a central theme to the following preseason.  Such as it is with an Ohio State...
High School Football: New coach, same expectations for Greeneview
High School Football: New coach, same expectations for Greeneview

The Greeneview Rams have had much to cheer about the past three seasons by earning the program’s first playoff appearance and first postseason victory. But you wouldn’t know it by watching them, especially on the practice field. The Rams have quietly gone about their business after reaching the postseason the past three seasons. &ldquo...
Regarding the ‘Urban Meyer is overrated/underrated’ at Ohio State thing
Regarding the ‘Urban Meyer is overrated/underrated’ at Ohio State thing

This “Urban Meyer has underachieved at Ohio State thing” is a stupid, made-up story, but people love to click those so it's probably worth a few minutes.  I would say he's overachieved twice, underachieved twice and hit expectations pretty much on the head once in five seasons in which he is 61-6 with one national championship, one...
More Stories