The Bengals looked like they’d nab a first-round bye in the playoffs, until Andy Dalton broke his thumb. Cincinnati finished with a 12-4 record and the third seed. The team hoped that Dalton could come back for the postseason, but today, the quarterback was officially ruled out for Saturday’s game.
This means A.J. McCarron, who is decidedly not Andy Dalton, will start. Maybe the former Alabama QB will tear up Pittsburgh’s defense. That remains a mystery which won’t be solved until tomorrow at 8 p.m. One thing is certain, however: God, Marvin Lewis needs this win so badly.
Lewis, who has coached the Bengals since 2003, has been to the playoffs six times. He has lost every game. Lewis is tied with Jim Mora Sr. for the most playoff losses without a single win. Using basic math, if Lewis loses his seventh, he will be the only NFL coach in history to go 0-7.
The mark he’s at is bad enough. Imagine drafting players, signing free agents, working on a playbook, going through all the minutiae that a coach has to deal with every offseason, winning games in the regular season, clinching a playoff spot, and immediately flaming out. Now, imagine doing that four seasons in a row, and also, one of those years, you got beat by T.J. Yates and his slapdick team.
The Bengals don’t seem to be fazed by Lewis’s inability to get a playoff win, at least for the short term—they gave him a one-year contract extension last April. It’s better to field a winning team and lose in the playoffs than to have the mess that was the Bengals from 1991 to 2002. With Marvin Lewis, you at least get a shred of hope before it’s crushed.
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