Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has dual arts degrees from Ohio State University.


They could not have played worse, or with worse karma.  Their broadcast voice called the offense “putrid”.   That sums up the Bengals’ loss to the Bills.

Let’s be brief with this much.  This stuff’s gettin’ old!

Seriously, when high school football teams like Minster, Marion Local, and Coldwater are playing their hearts out and winning playoff games in thrilling fashion…there has to be a pretty compelling reason to devote three hours to the Cincinnati Bengal

So give me just five minutes of your time to paint the latest ugly picture of a team Sunday whose canvas simply lacked color of any kind.  I’ll not bore, or retain you with meaningless stats.

It started with their best player leaving the game 62 seconds in.  A. J. Green was lost for the day with a pulled hamstring.

It got all-to-familiar then with the Buffalo Bills taking a 7-0 lead.  The Bengals, from that point on, were on the uphill climb.  And climb they did, coming back to score on a three-yard Andy Dalton run, assumedly tying the score.  Except…Mike Nugent clanked the extra point attempt off the right upright, his second PAT miss in his last five attempts.

You get the picture yet?  Buffalo came back to challenge, only to have the Bengals’ goal line defense play heroically, limiting them to a field goal.  10-6, Buffalo!

But hold on.  With A.J. Green gone (whom broadcasters Dan Hoard and Dave Lapham talked about like a death in the family), Dalton came back to hook up with rookie Tyler Boyd for a touchdown before the half to retake the lead, 12-10.  And here comes Nugent, presumably to tack on what used to be the “automatic” NFL extra point.  He clanked it again…same upright…same outcome…his third miss in his last six tries.  12-10 Bengals!

That, friends, was the sum of the Bengals offense for the day while Buffalo came back in the second half to score on two Dan Carpenter field goals (54 and 25 yards) to take the game and send the Bengals to a miserable 3-6-1 record, 16-12!

At one point in the second half, after the Bengals offense put up its fourth consecutive 3-and-out drive, play-by-play man Dan Hoard finally took off the company colors and called it what it was.  “The offense has been putrid,”  he said.

“Obviously it was disappointing to lose that football game today,”  said Marvin Lewis.

What?  Really, Marvin?

“We had some opportunities on offense and defense and we just left them on the field.  We had some penalties at bad times.”

That’s fresh.

Someone had the temerity to ask if Mike Nugent’s replacement as place-kicker was imminent.

“The first miss was because of a high snap.  That threw off the timing of the kick,”  said Lewis.  “The second he missed.  It’s too early to comment on something like that.”

Too early?  The Bengals ultimately chased those two missed extra points all day.  The game ended with a missed throw to the end zone because they need six points to win…instead of three!

The Keyhole is proud to sponsor coverage of the Bengals on Press Pros Magazine.

The Keyhole is proud to sponsor coverage of the Bengals on Press Pros Magazine.

Marvin, you’re 3-6-1 now.  Nothing is too early for a team that even when they win there feels like there’s an element of loss.

Post-game it was announced that Green’s hamstring injury was more serious than originally thought.  It’s reported now that it’s a hamstring tear and he may miss the remainder of the season.  He may not be alone.

Also leaving the field Sunday was cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and running back Gio Bernard, both with what was being called “significant knee injuries”.  Their status, like Green’s is unknown.

Even long-snapper Clark Harris got nicked, playing much of the second half with a severe groin pull that limited his ability to snap and cover punts downfield.

Other, predictable Bengal quotes:  “I made the play in the end zone and got the touchdown,”  said rookie Tyler Boyd of his first career TD as a professional.  “But it doesn’t mean as much if you don’t win.  We want the win.”

Son, that’s been said before…plenty of times.  You’ve officially been “Bengalized”.

Andy Dalton:  “You never want to lose a guy like A.J. because he’s the best receiver in the league.  So if you lose him it hurts.  The next guy just has to step up.”

Wow, Andy.  Was that original?

But Dalton’s right.  Injuries like A.J. Green are difficult for any team to overcome.  But remember, too, that the Bengals in their financial wisdom were willing to say good-bye to Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in the off-season.

Remember, too, that just weeks ago they were pounding their chests about being a dominating running team – an offensive line among the biggest and baddest in all the NFL.  Hmmm….

Consider, too, that there was a reason that Mike Zimmer and Hue Jackson conveniently took the first head coaching jobs to come available.  Zimmer apparently landed on his feet.  But Jackson is winless in Cleveland, which in fact may be better than 3-6-1 in Cincinnati.

Whatever, this is old.  There’s nothing left to say.  It’s all been said now…week after week after week.  After all these were not Marv Levy’s Bills that went to the Super Bowls four times.  These are Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills who had their own moments of putrid early in the year, made the necessary changes, and have at least since won the predictable games.

Sonny_thumb0216There apparently is no limit to Bengalization, except to say that when it happens in other cities changes are made.  Ownership in Buffalo would be willing to fire a Rex Ryan.  Ownership in Cincinnati has been content with Marvin Lewis and his empty quotes now for thirteen seasons.

When they were really bad, in the losing years, there wasn’t an expectation.  It was just bad.

But playoff appearances, even when you don’t win, raises the bar.  You can’t have four consecutive three-and-outs.  Until another week rolls around, bad has been replaced…by “putrid”.

Too strong?

There’s nothing else left to say.

The Keyhole is proud to sponsor coverage of the Bengals on Press Pros.

The Keyhole is proud to sponsor coverage of the Bengals on Press Pros.