by Jeff Lightsy Jr.
Just when you thought that the Cincinnati Bengals were going to win a playoff game. When it looked like all the obstacles placed in front of them were going to be overcome. When Marvin Lewis’s doughnut in the playoff win column would be no more…. The Bengals went back to being the Bengals. These same 12-4 Bengals who looked to be the cream of the crop in the AFC all season long went into self-destruct mode at the end of a tight playoff game.
With only a one point lead Cincinnati LB Vontez Burfict seemed to make the game clinching interception on Steelers quarterback Landry Jones. Burfict had previously made a sack that had taken Pittsburgh starting QB Ben Rothlisberger out of the ball game. And in a series of unfortunate events. Jeremy Hill fumbles, Burfict KO’s Antonio Brown, and Pacman Jones pushes a Steelers coach in front of the referees and the Bengals are sent home once again in the first round of the playoffs.
After all of that, many people around the country are calling for the head of Bengals Head coach Marvin Lewis. After 13 seasons in Cincinnati he has brought the Bengals back to prominence and has built one of the better rosters in the entire league (when everyone is healthy). But at the same time it looks as if he has lost control of his team. Not to mention his 0-7 record in the playoffs is the worst ever in league history.
So what should the Bengals do next after another disappointing season? Fire Marvin Lewis? Well, not so fast. I am not one to believe that Lewis should be run out of town just yet. Yes, he needs to some how get better control of the players on his team. Vontez Burfict and Pacman Jones are two extremely talented guys, but they are also two guys that emotions run high. These things can cost a team a game as it did against the Steelers. Also finding a replacement for Lewis may not be as easy as some would think. Just look what happen with the 49ners after they got rid of Jim Haurbaugh. And last but not least you have to cut Lewis and the Bengals some slack, they were playing without their franchise quarterback. Even though Andy Dalton has taken his fair share of lumps in the postseason he still posted a career year this season. With him on the field this may have changed the entire complexion of the game.
The Bengals must now regroup and find away to keep their players under more control for next season. Lewis has already been told by Cincinnati management that he will be retained for next season but now it is up to him to get his team in the right mindset this off-season to be able to contend during the 2016 NFL season.