The 1990 season.
That’s the last time the Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game. Fans have probably spent the past 20-plus years wondering whose fault that is. The players? The coaches? How about the owner?
I’m here to tell you, Bengals fans, that I have discovered the source of your postseason misfortune, and it can all be traced back to a curse laid upon you by Bengals fan Woody Harrelson. Allow me to explain.
So there you have it, Cincinnati. Woody Harrelson jersey is the source of your woes. But until Woody takes a sledgehammer to a foosball table and ends the curse, you’re on your own. Don’t worry, though. There’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic about 2015.The Bengals won their last playoff game on January 6, 1991 against the Houston Oilers, 41-14. Four days later on January 10, 1991, a new episode of “Cheers” aired where Woody Harrelson’s character found a foosball table that was allegedly cursed. He was told bad things happened to people who used it. In the episode, one person got their hand stuck in the table, but by the end the foosball table was neither destroyed nor dealt with NFL jerseys. It was simply forgotten about. Three days later, on January 13, the Bengals lost to the Los Angeles Raiders in the Divisional Round, 20-10. Cincinnati has never won a playoff game since.
While Andy Dalton remains a polarizing figure at the quarterback position, Bengals fans have to be happy with the receiving corps they have on offense. A.J. Green jersey is one of the best receivers in the game, hands down. Despite missing three games in 2014, Green still finished with his fourth-straight 1,000-yard season (second most to start a career).
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But it was in Green’s absence that the Bengals finally got a look at what third-year receiver Mohamed Sanu could really do. In the three games without Green, Sanu caught 18 passes for 299 yards and one touchdown, including two games where he had over 120 receiving yards (the first 100-plus games of his career).
Sanu’s numbers dropped when Green returned, but I have a feeling offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will find a way to get Sanu more involved next season. Plus, you have Marvin Jones returning next year after he missed all of 2014 with an injury. Keep in mind this was a guy who caught 10 touchdowns back in 2013, his second season in the league. With three receivers standing 6-foot-2 or more, Cincinnati’s passing attack next year should be fun to watch… even if you still have Andy Dalton.
Fortunately, the Bengals don’t need to rely solely on Dalton’s arm to carry their offense. Not with the talented young running backs they have in Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Hill rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns (third most in the league), and finished the year with three-straight 100-yard games, including a memorable performance against the Denver Broncos in Week 16 that included an 85-yard touchdown run. Hill also became just the third rookie in NFL history with at least four games of 140-plus rushing yards, joining Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Curtis Martin. Not bad company to be in.
And don’t forget about Giovani Bernard, who is a dual threat with his ability to run and catch passes out of the backfield. This young combo provided Cincinnati with an effective one-two punch and helped the Bengals’ rushing offense go from 18th in 2013 to 6th in 2014. Couple that with the receiving corps and this offense could easily be in the top five in scoring next year… even if you still have Andy Dalton.
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Joining Holmes are David Nelson and Greg Little, the latter having caught six passes in six games with the Bengals last season.
Cincinnati is in the market for depth at the position after placing 2014 seventh-round pick James Wright on injured reserve this week.
Still just 31 years old, Holmes has become an NFL afterthought following a Lisfranc injury and character concerns that forced an end to his ill-fated Jets career in 2013.
After waiting until mid-August to land a job with the Bears last summer, Holmes managed just eight catches for 67 yards in nine games.
Nelson, 28, caught eight passes for 65 yards in six games with the Jets last season.
He recently denounced NFL teams for snubbing him due to the time he spends on charity work.
“They don’t think my head’s in the game, but it’s all guesswork,” Nelson wrote. “Perception isn’t always reality, and that’s the case here. These coaches and owners don’t know me, and they don’t have any interest in changing that.”
No matter which receiver the Bengals add, expectations should be low.
A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu are locked in as the top three receivers, with tight end Tyler Eifert and receiving back Giovani Bernard also high in the passing-game pecking order.