Losing sucks. Pittsburgh Steelers fans really don’t get it. We’re spoiled enough to mock the fact that they haven’t had a losing season in a decade and a half, but there are teams who have hardly even had a winning season in just as long.
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of those franchises that is far more acquainted with losing than are the Steelers. After all, they lost enough to have the first-overall pick last year, landing them Joe Burrow—who himself landed on the Reserve/Injured List a few weeks ago, meaning Pittsburgh won’t get a second crack at him until next year.
They will, however, play the Bengals and whoever they end up putting on the field. And when they do, they will be playing a team that frankly just seems tired of the same old routine over and over again, putting in the work on the practice field but still coming up with losses. Just ask veteran defensive lineman Sam Hubbard.
“You do everything right during the week and practice hard and you get no reward”, he told reporters after watching Cincinnati’s former starting quarterback, Andy Dalton, roll over them as the backup quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. “It’s been going on for a while now. It’s pretty painful”.
I’m honestly having a hard time reacting to this comment. Is this the sort of remark that you want to hear from one of your better players? Obviously, you don’t want anybody to become content with losing, and it shouldn’t produce feelings of indifference. But you don’t want a defeatist locker room, either. Then again, it’s not much better from the head coach.
“I just want to win a football game”, said Zac Taylor. “I love going to work with these guys every day, and that’s all that matters to me. How do we get ready to win a game in seven days? That is 100 percent our focus”.
The second-year head coach tried to put the blame on his own shoulders as much as he could, saying it “100 percent falls on me. It’s really frustrating. A lot of effort goes into this, guys are pulling together and it’s still a very close team and I think you can see that. We just haven’t made the plays that put us in position to win”.
The Bengals are 2-10-1 on the season now and riding a five-game losing streak. They have lost eight of their last nine games after starting the season 1-2-1, which, for them, really isn’t that bad lately. This is the fifth consecutive season in which they have secured a losing season, which was preceded by a five-year streak of winning records and first-round playoff exits.