Cincinnati Bengals: How Complacency Makes Them Their Own Worst Enemy

Alex Peterman@Alex_PetermanCorrespondent IIIDecember 6, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 2: Brian Leonard #40 congratulates Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the game against the San Diego Chargers on December 2, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

When the Cincinnati Bengals get hot, they become like no other team in the league. The scoreboard becomes their best friend and scoring on the defense is almost impossible.

That happens for about a quarter and a half.

And then it sets in.

It’s something that plagues many sports teams. They get ahead and they’re feeling good. But sometimes complacency is too appealing to overcome. It’s like laziness while sitting at the desk, browsing the computer. It's like procrastinating over school work. You do it until you finally realize how late it is.

"I have to get this work done! It’s already 5:00 p.m.!” You should have been chipping away at your work for the past three hours.

I’ve seen it several times. The Bengals grab a quick lead over an inferior team and then become content with their first score, thinking that it sets the tone for the rest of the day and that their job is officially done.

They were up 24-7 against the Washington Redskins. The game was tied at 24 two quarters later.

They scored first against Cleveland in Week 6, then came a quick moment of hesitation. A second of standing flat footed and a receiver had blown by Reggie Nelson for a 70-yard touchdown.

Sorry, Reggie. I don’t mean to single you out.

Cincinnati fans could even sense it in the second and third quarters against the San Diego Chargers last week.

I get it. When you’re ahead, you’re on top of the world. I’ve played enough football to know it. You’re up by a single touchdown and you’re already shifting to a soft zone defense.

That’s all fine and dandy, except for the fact that it’s still the first quarter and suddenly the game is tied.

Complacency comes with youth, and it has been the Bengals’ worst enemy this season.

That’s it, themselves. The Bengals would be unstoppable had they played every game this season like there were only five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Then again, so would every other team. It just seems to me like Cincinnati falls victim to it a bit more than everyone else.