Houston beat Cincinnati 13-9 and the Bengals will have to wear that. Losing at home to a rookie quarterback making his first start and becoming the first team in nearly 80 years to open the season with two home games and not score a touchdown in either one.
But the real damage wasn’t to Cincy’s pride or their locker room chemistry, although that seemed like a mess afterwards, the real damage was to America. We’re all going to have to wear that game because we all witnessed it.
Houston gets the W, but there were no winners last night. It was that bad. 16 penalties, 16 punts, and 26 first downs. More penalties and punts than first downs. And it wasn’t even close.
Yes, those are two good defenses, but those are two really bad offenses, and that made for some terrible football. Unless you like punts, penalties, incomplete passes, and running plays that go nowhere.
Everyone knows the classic pizza/sex/football debate. As in there’s no such thing as bad pizza, bad sex, or bad football. Well, last night, football did its best to push that theory to its limits; to see just how far it will bend before it shatters into a thousand little pieces.
How bad was the game? So bad that even one great moment from Deshaun Watson, transcendent as it was, couldn’t save it from being an all-time snoozefest. And that’s a tragedy, because this was a pretty incredible moment.
But a single touchdown does not a football game make and even that wasn’t enough to redeem that game. My biggest problem with last night wasn’t the penalties, or the punts, or the lack of first downs, or the lack of points, it was the lack of action. Last night was worse than bad, it was boring.
Want more evidence? I usually have absolutely no time for the end of game clownshows when a team of adults desperately try to play keep-away 70 yards from the end zone in a ridiculous attempt to keep the ball, and their hopes of a win, alive. Those plays are always embarrassing and demeaning to everyone on the field and in the stands. But last night, it was the best play of the game and I was on the edge of my seat. Roll it!
Even the written description of it was better than the 59 minutes that preceded it. Check it:
Andy Dalton pass short middle to A.Green to CIN 17 for -3 yards.
Pass back to A.Dalton to CIN 15 for -2 yards.
Pass back to G.Bernard to CIN 28 for 13 yards.
Pass back to A.Dalton to CIN 28 for no gain.
Pass back to R.Bodine to CIN 28 for no gain
And when J.J. Watt decked Bengals center Russell Bodine, he was doing it for everyone. Finally, this game is over! I couldn’t decide whether to hit my knees in gratitude or pop champagne. We did it! We did it! We made it through that game.
And by the way, I know there were a lot of angry Bengals in the locker room after the game, but could any of them have been angrier than my man Bodine? How are you feeling if you’re him and your quarterback just led you into that ER visit waiting to happen? That hit ended the game and nearly ended Bodine’s life. The center-quarterback relationship is supposed to be one of the tightest on the team and Dalton nearly got his guy killed. And the worst part is, that was Dalton’s best throw of the night.
So let’s move on. Let’s put this game in the rearview. I’m this close to going high school football coach and burying the football and my television, but I’ll settle for saying, let us never speak of this game again. Let’s just move on to the next Thursday night game because there’s no way it could be worse.
Who is it? Let me check the schedule. Let’s see, it’s…Rams at 49ers…oh.