Two days after watching the Cincinnati Bengals lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 18-16, in the AFC Wild Card, Dave Lapham feels the same now as he felt then.
“Just overall disgust, really,” the Bengals radio analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I had the good fortune of playing for Paul Brown my first couple years in the league and I can remember him saying many times, ‘The key to winning is poise under stress.’ And all the Bengals talked about all week long was, ‘We lost that last regular-season game to the Steelers because they got under our skin. We lost our poise. It’s not going to happen again. There’s no way I’m going to be selfish and cost my team with a penalty at a key time, at a key moment in the football game. It was all a bunch of lip service because when it came down to the most stressful moment, the Bengals self-destructed big time.”
Indeed, Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones were called for back-to-back 15-yard penalties that essentially handed Pittsburgh the game. The worst part? Both penalties were completely unnecessary and could have been avoided.
“A big word in sports is trust, and right now, if I’m a teammate of Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones, they violated my trust,” Lapham said. “I know those guys had great years for the team. Vontaze Burfict, when healthy, is a Pro-Bowl player. Adam Jones is a special player. But man, when you keep getting the same result and it’s the same guys involved in it, it starts to violate the trust of teammates. It’s a very, very difficult situation.”
Bengals fans, it seems, were just as disgusted as Lapham – only more so. Several fans were arrested for assault Saturday night, and some hurled objects at Ben Roethlisberger.
“That disgusted me,” Lapham said. “The fan base was throwing bottles of water and cussing Ben Roethlisberger out as he was leaving the field on the cart because he’s injured. Who are they to have an opinion on anything if they’re going to be neanderthal like that? That’s stupid. It’s a football game for God’s sake. People are just out of their mind with the hate that goes on between these two fan bases. That’s gotten out of control as well, but I that’s why they’re called fans, I guess. It comes from fanatic.”
And many of those fanatics want Marvin Lewis gone. Lewis has won 52 regular-season games over the last five seasons but is 0-5 in the playoffs. In fact, he is 0-7 in the postseason overall and has never scored more than 17 points in a playoffs game.
Still, Lapham expects Lewis to be back in 2016.
“I know you don’t play to get to the playoffs; you play to win in the playoffs,” Lapham said. “But there are a lot of organizations around the league trying to figure out what to do with their next head coach. They just came off a record-tying 12-win season. Best ever. The other two did make it to the Super Bowl, but this one didn’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Knowing Mike Brown and his penchant for continuity and consistency and seeing how Pittsburgh is in that regard and how Baltimore is in that regard, there’s no way that they’re going to make a change and fire Marvin Lewis. There’s no way I see that whatsoever.”