It was certainly a dissapointing season for Bengals' fans, along with many others.
The 2010-2011 NFL season was full of many surprises.
Some teams exceeded expectations, while some simply did not achieve anywhere near the level that the media and fan bases built for their respective franchises.
Many of these failures came from slighted efforts from individual players, some came from teams collectively, and some can be left to blame on the head coach and members of the coaching staff.
Let's take a look at some of the biggest misses of the 2010 season.
Reggie Bush's injury plagued campaign hurt the Saints' chances at another Super Bowl crown.
The Saints started this season with two huge primetime wins against the Vikings and Niners, showing that they were not going to suffer from a Super Bowl hangover following their first ring in franchise history. The 2009 NFL champions would continue to win big games, including key matchups with the Steelers, Bucs and Falcons, throughout the season.
The rest of the Saints' season, however, would be marked by inconsistency. Losses in Weeks 5 and 7, to the Cardinals and Browns respectively, would prevent a division title in 2010 due to the sudden surge of the Falcons in the NFC South. Injuries to their "X-factor" Reggie Bush and tight end Jeremy Shockey made an explosive offense turn flat. Not the most impressive campaign for QB Drew Brees either, as he threw for 22 interceptions in 2010, doubling his total from 2009.
Not the repeat the Saints' and their fans had in mind.
Matthew Stafford's durability is being questioned after another shortened campaign in 2010.
This guy really could be the next great gunslinger in the NFL, if only he can stay healthy.
And 2010 was another season, only Stafford's second with the big show, to end in injury for the top-overall pick in 2009. It was also another season which Lions' fans had to watch Drew Stanton take snaps behind center in his absence, but it can't get worse than Daunte Culpepper, right?
Stafford has the build and one hell of an arm to truly be great someday. He has shown, in limited duty, a connection with star WR Calvin Johnson, and that is certainly the biggest positive observation—and perhaps the only positive—that can be taken from the Lions' offense in 2010.
Stafford finds himself on the hot seat in 2011, not because of his performance, but because it will be the third straight season that Lions' players and fans alike will be wondering if their star QB can make it down the stretch.
So close, yet so far away.
The Jaguars entered their Week 15 matchup with the Colts' with a win meaning they would capture their first-ever AFC South title and a loss taking their remaining season down a more difficult route.
They chose the difficult route.
Only fitting for the Jags' past season, as they simply could not win the games they were supposed to win. Jacksonville would finish the season 8-8, as they would lose a home bout with the struggling Redskins the following week and suffer a blowout loss in the season finale to the depleted Texans.
So what do the Jags' have to do to not come up short once again in 2011? Simple: Beat the Colts and win the games they are (on paper) supposed to win.
If only it were that easy..
Mike Singletary and QB Alex Smith just could not get on the same page in 2010.
The Niners' entered 2010 as one of the most talented teams on paper in the NFL, but they just couldn't make it translate under fired head coach Mike Singletary.
Are there any other explanation for the Niners' plight in 2010? The entire offense was just plain awful and Alex Smith, who entered the 2010 tilt as the starting QB, would be benched in favor of free agent QB Troy Smith for the Week 8 matchup with the Broncos in London. Both would flip-flop the role as starter during the course of the seasons' remainder, and it truly was pathetic to watch this offense try to move the ball down the field without any viable option at QB. Singletary, no-doubt, proved he is not ready to coach both sides of the football just yet, and would be relieved of his duties in Week 16, as owner Jed York had seen enough.
Can it get worse in the Bay Area? Not with returning stars such as Patrick Willis, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, and a newly-rebuilt offensive line. Did I mention that the Niners' went out and signed former Stanford Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh to be the Niners' headman in 2011? He knows a thing or two about turnarounds...
Horrible. Atrocious. Unbearable. Unbelievable.
Regardless of who you are a fan of, or how you feel about Favre coming back for a 20th season, there is nothing that can compare to the sheer disappointment of watching perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever play the game end his career the way Brett Favre did in 2010 with the Vikings.
Favre, to the surprise of many, played his final game Week 13 in front of the Vikes' faithful, playing host to the Bills. Favre would take a big hit early and suffer a shoulder injury which would finally end his storybook career.
The ending to Favre's career makes us all ask the big question: should Brett have even decided to come back following his departure from the Pack after the 2007 season? Surely he had something left in the tank, right?
It's more than a question, folks. Favre's early "retirement" from Green Bay is a debate sure to last for years. He could have preserved his legacy from embarrassments such as this past season had he remained away from the game. However, at times he did prove this past year that he still possesses the ability to compete at such a level.
The debate of Favre's decision will never, ever be won. The only conclusion that can be mutually agreed upon is this: Favre's 2010 performance has without a doubt subtracted from his outstanding legacy and is certainly a horrible ending to his storybook career.