I know there are a gadzillion other reports out there on the game last night, but here's mine.
#1 - Congrats to the Steelers and their fans. You played Steeler football and won the game. Physical, kept to the run, capitalized big plays, composure, never gave up when down. You are moving on, we are not . . . this year ;)
#2 - Carson's injury. It is not an excuse to lose a game, its a part of football that can happen on any play of any game. For us, it was extremely untimely and devastating to a young team. Nothing appears to be a cheap shot from my vantage point. However, the loss feels that much more hollow without our best shot. Carson had the ability to go over the top of the defense, one of the few weaknesses to the Steelers defense. Kitna is what he is, a 2nd string quarterback who is a great guy and leader. I would have much rather gotten beat straight up, but that's football.
#3 - Officiating. It seemed that the refs lost control of the game early. My biggest beef would be the pass to end zone for Housh with the non-call of interfernce with the DB with his back to the ball shoving Housh out of the play. That seemed obvious in person, more obvious on the replay and with a playoff crew, unexcusable to be missed. Without Carson, we had no wiggle room, we needed that call. That was the beginning of the end. A couple penalties later, a bad snap and the game was over. The Bengals offense was completely absent in the 2nd half, even embarrasing.
#4 - Bengals Defense. We have never had a playoff defense. We have gotten by with turnovers all season and an offense that either controls the clock or outscores their opponent. We need atleast an average defense to go with our offense to go deep into any playoffs. This still needs to be built through free agency and the draft. Our young players did well last night though, in particular Geathers, Pollack and Thurman. Madieu Williams, come back soon, we need ya bad. We need 2 DL's and a SS this offseason at the very minimum.
#5 - Fans. Its embarrasing to the human race what people do and say while completely destroyed on alcohol. Bengals and Steelers fans alike acting like animals. No concept of the game or signs of intelligence. After the game the sirens were everywhere dealing with fights and public absurdity. And then there's the public puking. We witnessed a Steeler fan convulsing on the busiest corner of Covington, doubled over, paralyzed with dry heaves, body completely out of control as his stomach tried to repulse all the poison in his system. I guess that's supposed to be fun. I talked to, shook the hands of and congratulated Steeler fans after the game. They as well wished they had won against a full-squad Bengals team, kind of a hollow win too. But, as they should, they are taking it. There are always good people on both sides of any argument.
#6 - The Tailgate. By far the highlight of the day. Beautiful day. 12 guys at the truck. Parked next to a van full of Steeler fans. We made peace offerings both ways. They gave us shrimp, we gave them picks of our litter as well. Good natured picking of one another. We had the Texas Hold Em table set up with a great game and people were stopping just to observe in the crowd. Our feast was White Castles and Skyline Coneys. Its gonna take some time to recover from that.
And we had a special guest, Chad Johnson visited our lot just checking out the facilities. He was in sweats and slippers. We wished him well. I had a football in my hand, I regret not asking him to go long in his slippers. I know I still have the arm to throw the deep one . . . put me in coach!!! The tailgate was a blast of a party with some of my favorite people. Oh yeah, and I made a playlist on my iPod of about 80 appropriate football tunes, I'm always ready to DJ.
So we enter the offseason with a lot of work left to do, but I can hold my head high as a Bengals fan. It was a blast of a year, winning is always fun. Thank you to Coach Lewis for bringing pride back to Cincinnati. I know that we have many more winning years ahead with him as our leader. (And maybe fax your winning philosophy over to the Reds so we can have fun year round) To Carson Palmer and his healing, Godspeed my brother.
To Geo, you won the wager my friend. I will peruse the Reds schedule for the right game and you will get a taste of the Nati for a weekend. We will sit in the front row like Rock Stars, we will visit an Irish establishment or 2, and I will introduce you to some of the coolest Kingdom folk that the U.S. has to offer. None of us lose in that deal.
One last thing . . . Go Colts :) (that was for Mr. Bean)