Trey Hopkins scrambles for yards against the Arizona Cardinals at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday. Photo by Michael Mitchell
By Conrad Clowers
Writing these kind of stories is difficult. I want the Bengals to be good. I want them to be amongst the NFL’s best. Nothing would be better than to brag to relatives in places like Kansas City and Los Angeles about how good the Bengals are. The truth of the matter is they’re not. As a matter of fact when this season is over this could very well be the worst team in franchise history. It would be the ultimate humiliation for Cincinnati to match the ’76 Buccaneers, ’07 Lions and ’16 Browns as teams that went an entire season with 0 wins.
The worst season Cincinnati ever had was the 2-14 season in 2002. The 1990’s are known as the ‘loss’ decade. For the entire decade, the team compiled a record of 52-108. Six of the 10 seasons in that decade Cincinnati had double-digit losses in a season.
The Bengals are off to their worst season start since 2008. That season was Marvin Lewis’ worst as head coach. The team started out 0-8 before finishing 4-11-1.
The worst start ever for a Bengals team was a 0-10 1993 start.
This past weekend many felt Cincinnati would get their first win. Despite starting a rookie quarterback, despite Arizona having the second worst defense in the league, despite a rookie head coach, and despite a home field advantage the Bengals were still unable to beat the Arizona Cardinals. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray willed his Arizona team to a last second 26-23 win. The loss was demoralizing for Cincinnati. Coming off a nationally televised embarrassing 27-3 loss to a subpar Pittsburg Steelers team, the Bengals had opportunities, but could not come out with a victory over a team who was also winless.
Bengals rookie coach Zac Taylor joins Sam Wyche and Homer Rice as the only first year Bengals coach to start out their coaching careers 0-5. Just for the record, Wyche went on to ultimately take Cincinnati to a Super Bowl. Rice was head coach for one season for the Bengals before being sent packing.
This past off-season Cincinnati hired a new coach. That’s it. They did nothing to improve the roster. They resigned a few players that were already on the roster from 2018. With no roster upgrades, it should come as no surprise the lack of success Cincinnati displayed.
“We don’t get paid to lose. It’s frustrating,” said Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
For all intents and purposes, 2019 is all but over in playoff terms. The best the team could be is 11-5, should they win 11 straight. The way the Bengals have played it may be pushing to hope for a 5-11 record.
At this point things can only get better. Cincinnati is a laughing stalk around the NFL. The only way the laughter will stop is to complete a game with more points than the other team.