On Saturday night at the team hotel in Kansas City, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden had a message for the Bengals.
“I told ‘em at a team meeting that momentum and confidence are a dangerous combination,” said Gruden.
Right now, the Bengals appear to have both.
Yes Kansas City is putrid (how do you get penalized multiple times in the same game for running out of bounds in punt coverage?), but Baltimore and Pittsburgh were only able to beat the Chiefs by three points apiece. The Bengals throttled Kansas City 28-6, and have outscored their last two opponents by a total of 40 points.
“We’re starting to put it all together and it’s very important for us to continue to get better as the season goes on,” said Gruden. “We’re starting to get healthy and guys are gaining momentum and confidence. Right now we have that, but we have to keep it going.”
“The momentum is on our side now; we just have to keep it rolling,” said center Trevor Robinson.
After losing four straight games where the Bengals either had a lead or were within four points of the opponent in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati has put together back-to-back dominant performances on offense, defense, and special teams.
“It’s like a pro golfer,” said Marvin Lewis with a laugh. “You can’t stay on the tour if you don’t do it time after time and round after round. We know that it’s going to be a grind every Sunday and they’re getting good at grinding.”
“Winning in the NFL is definitely not easy, and we know that we can’t afford to make mistakes,” said Cedric Peerman. “We just have to keep coming to work each and every day, be demanding, and be accountable to each other. The rest will take care of itself.”
In their consecutive victories over the Giants and Chiefs, the Bengals have won the turnover battle five to one, scored touchdowns on seven of eight red zone possessions, and had seven sacks to only two for their opponents.
“We squandered a lot of games and weren’t playing up to our potential,” said BenJarvus Green-Ellis. “We can still get better, and we just have to keep taking steps every day.”
“The key is how hard we work at practice,” said Domata Peko. “You win games Wednesday through Saturday. Then on Sunday you can run out, have fun, and make plays.”
Their confidence is growing. And they’ll try to continue their momentum by beating the 3-7 Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
“You want to get hot in November and December and that’s what we’re pointing to,” said Coach Lewis.
“It feels good to be 5-5 but that’s just the beginning man,” said Peko.
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