The Cincinnati Bengals haven’t had many losses in Marvin Lewis’ 15 years like the 33-7 rout they suffered Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Even rarer have been back-to-back clunkers, which is what the Bengals will be trying to avoid Sunday in Minnesota.
Since the Andy Dalton and A.J. Green era began in 2011, the Bengals have lost nine games by at least 15 points. Of the previous eight, only two were followed by another loss.
“Any time you lose you want to come back that next week and have that extra little bit of motivation focus because you want to turn it around and win the next week,” Dalton said. “That’s where we’re at.”
While the Bengals are 5-2-1 the week after losing by at least 15 since 2011, both of those losses have come this season.
They followed their 20-0 loss to Baltimore in the season opener with a 13-9 defeat against Houston. And they dropped a 24-20 decision at Tennessee the Sunday after a 26-7 setback at Jacksonville in Week 9.
But the Bengals were able to bounce back from a 29-14 loss at Pittsburgh to score a 24-23 victory against Indianapolis in Week 8.
“Whenever you put a bad performance out there you want to bounce back,” left guard Clint Boling said. “It’s just added motivation. You don’t want to continue to play in those kind of games.”
The three previous blowouts came when the Bengals still had playoff aspirations, so finding motivation to bounce back was a little easier then. But Lewis said Friday he felt the team had a solid week of practice in preparation for the Vikings.
“We didn’t play very well (Sunday) and our guys felt that, so they wanted to work to rectify the situation and get a win,” he said. “I don’t think it’s business as usual. They know there’s got to be an urgency. Last week we weren’t good enough. The focus we had didn’t carry through. We didn’t perform. We didn’t execute.”
Some players said they felt the team lacked energy last week. Lewis said that won’t be the case Sunday in Minnesota, because it wasn’t the case last week.
“That’s a cop out. That’s baloney,” he said. “It’s a mental cop out. Someone says, ‘Hey, do you think you had a lack of energy?’ Well, maybe so. They didn’t come up with that themselves. Somebody stuck words in their mouths. We had a lack of execution. I can put those words in their mouths.”
And Lewis pointed directly at Dalton and Green for that lack of execution, saying the two offensive stars need to be better Sunday.
“We’ve got to catch the ball down the field,” Lewis said. “We’ve got to make sure we get accurate throws to those guys. All of those things have to happen. (Dalton and Green) have to go win the game, and keep us in the game. That’s their job. That’s why they’re who they are.”