DETROIT – The scene inside Ford Field on Sunday was almost unthinkable a couple of years ago.
Reinforcements raced onto the field. Disgruntled fans trudged toward the exit. And the Cincinnati Bengals were the ones who achieved a 34-11 victory over the Detroit Lions.
It was a sign of how far the Bengals have come in the past three seasons. Two years ago, Cincinnati was the worst team in the NFL. Now, the Bengals are in the rebuilding stage that even on a good day, they can beat up a bad team.
If every game reveals an attribute about Cincinnati, Sunday’s illumination was that even when things don’t quite mesh, the Bengals (4-2) are more than enough.
And it’s not just the wins that matter for a franchise looking to end a postseason drought. Style points count too.
“We don’t have these record expectations,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said after the game. “It’s just about how our team progresses and progresses. And that’s all that matters to me. “
To be clear, the Bengals’ performance wasn’t as flashy as wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase’s string of “No. of gold”. 1 ”pendant with“ Chosen ”in the middle. Cincinnati’s offense, which has struggled with consistency all season, had another lackluster first half that featured three straight triples and outs.
The Lions (0-6) looked like the last winless team left in the NFL. Lions quarterback Jared Goff was booed before, during and at the end of the game. Most of their 202 passing yards came after the game was out of reach and the Lions were heading for their 10th straight loss, currently the longest losing streak in the NFL.
Cincinnati didn’t really get going until the third quarter, when Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hit running back Joe Mixon for a 40-yard throw-and-catch touchdown on fourth-and-one. If the Bengals hadn’t converted that, Detroit could have stayed at attacking distance and had another close game.
Earlier this season, Cincinnati needed extra time to beat a Jacksonville team that didn’t score its first win until Sunday, when the Jaguars beat the Dolphins with a last-second field goal victory in London.
Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson, who won another ballgame from Burrow after his fourth stoppage of the season, was hesitant to look too far ahead, especially with division rival Baltimore scheduled for next weekend.
But the Bengals not only earned their biggest margin of victory since Taylor’s tenure as coach began in 2019, they gave the Lions their worst loss of the season in what seemed like a proverbial cheat game.
“We came here and we did what we had to do, what we were supposed to do, what we planned to do,” Wilson said.
Cincinnati knows the offense must play more consistently if it is to make a real run to win the AFC North. When offered praise after the game, Taylor quickly dismissed the thought and said he was angry at the Bengals’ appearance in the first half.
It’s a sign of how far the Bengals have traveled since the days of 2019, when any win was more than welcome.
And the fact that Cincinnati left a lot to be desired and still achieved its biggest win in years is the mark of a playoff team, something Cincinnati hopes to be when January rolls around.
“I’m never going to be upset about a 34-point game when you’re winning as much as we did,” Burrow said, “but we have to correct some things.
“And when we do that, it will be terrifying.”