It is time to panic in Cincinnati.
Go crazy. Start running around like chickens with your heads cut off. The city is going up in flames.
Week 1 of the 2009 NFL season saw the Bengals lose on a miraculous “tip-drill touchdown,” a seemingly fitting way to end a season opener in which the Bengals showed flashes of promise against an ominous background.
The Bengals offensive line gave Carson Palmer ample time to pick up 247 yards on 21 completions…against a vastly undersized and inferior Denver Bronco pass rush.
The Bengals secondary held Brandon Marshall to only 27 yards receiving…in large part because quarterback Kyle Orton struggled to throw the ball further than 20 yards down the field.
Rookie linebacker Rey Maualuga was ubiquitous throughout the second half, flying all over the field to make six tackles…the bulk of which came after five to 10 yard gains by a resurgent Bronco offense.
Cedric Benson picked up 76 yards on 21 carries…against a defense with the personnel for a 4-3 that runs a 3-4.
You get the point.
Even if Brandon Stokley had not snatched the hearts of Who Dey Nation out of thin air with 11 seconds remaining, the deficiencies displayed by the Bengals in the preseason manifested themselves in a wholly uninspiring performance from Marvin Lewis’ squad.
As the Bengals move to Green Bay in week 2, it is already do-or-die time for Mike Brown’s enterprise to retain requisite fan support to sell out another home game.
Resurgence seems fleeting. Panic seems reasonable.