So it's two AFC North teams, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, playing for the AFC championship. One doesn't know if Bengals fans should be heartened or discouraged: Of the Bengals' 11 losses, four came against those two teams. If you're going to finish third in a division, it might as well be the division in which the top two teams are the only two left in the conference.
Football for Cincinnati fans made a rare intrusion on January, which turned out not to be such a glorious moment. But well take it and hope for more next year, understanding that the interim poses numerous challenging scenarios.
The length of the NFL season really shows on a team like the Bengals. A high school team at 0-8 sees the end in a couple weeks. A college team at 0-8 can still make its season in November by beating the rival. The Bengals are 0-8 in the NFL. They're not reaching the end of this dark tunnel until Christmas.
Maybe the Bengals still have a pulse, which means they're not quite as desperate as those no-good outfits from the 1990s - but they're still 0-3, they're still going to have their hands full with the Cleveland Browns Sunday, their quarterback still is no better protected than David Klingler and the season still is a long way from hopeful.