The Playoff Push: Bengals’ Edition

It’s been awhile. I know. Bengals’ coverage from myself has been slacking. But we aren’t living in the past. If we were, we might still be trashing Zac Taylor, who by the way, has his Cincinnati Bengals sitting at 7-4 and 5th in the AFC playoff picture. 

The last time I put out an article, it was me predicting the Bengals to thrash the Jets. They didn’t. They lost to one-game-wonder Mike White and my optimistic outlook on the 2021 Bengals took a dramatic hit. Five weeks later, Joe Burrow and this team have found an identity and have proved not to be a fluke. 

I don’t believe any Cincinnati fan is unhappy with the 7-4 record and if they are, they shouldn’t be. But the feeling of losing a few games they shouldn’t have lost definitely looms, at least for me. The great thing about those losses is that Brian Callahan and  Zac Taylor have learned from those and are really figuring out just how to attack opposing defenses. This was clear to me during the win in Las Vegas over the Raiders. Taylor and Callahan called pitch play after pitch play and when it wasn’t a pitch play it was probably an outside zone run. It wasn’t working.

But they stuck to it.

And before you knew it, Joe Mixon had 30 carries for 123 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Bengals literally ran the Raiders out of Las Vegas. 

A week later, the Bengals came home to Cincinnati and there was no way around it, the team was going to go as far as Joe Mixon was able to take them. He ran his guys all the way to a 41-3 lead behind 28 carries, 165 yards and 2 touchdowns, which ultimately ended in a 41-10 victory over the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. I can’t mention all of this and forget to give credit to Frank Pollack and the entire offensive line.

With 6 games remaining in the regular season, 4 of them are played at Paul Brown Stadium. Home field advantage at the end of the year should propel this team into the playoffs if you ask me. It starts this week when they host the struggling Los Angeles Chargers.  

A few months ago, I would look at the schedule and try to decipher which games were winnable. But now I know – all of the games are winnable. This team has given me no reason to think otherwise. They can win in a number of ways and that’s a nightmare in itself for opposing coaching staffs. 

The playoff push begins now.

Logan Vaughn

I write about Cincinnati sports in my free time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *