by Scott Benson

I’ve been up since 5:00 this morning and I still can’t think of anything positive to say about today’s game.

Expectations are minimal, naturally. The Bengals are a playoff team off to a 3-0 start, and what’s worse, their passing game presents horrifying matchup problems for the suddenly decimated Patriots secondary. And honestly, the Patriots aren’t a very good team at the moment anyway. They may yet be, in November and December maybe, but today? Will they be able to break the run on offensive turnovers? Will they be able to get a field goal off?

I’m willing to buy into the theory that this Patriots team will need several more weeks to ‘find’ itself. This week pretty much disavowed me of any notion that this team was in any way an extension of the 03-04 Patriots, kings of the football world. The Patriots can no longer collectively shake down THAT thunder, if you follow me. I guess I was pretty slow to realize that.

No, the Patriots are being reinvented, on the fly, before our eyes. They are, as they say, what they are – a certifiable work in progress – and they aren’t Super Bowl Champions anymore, not collectively. These days, they’re just another AFC squirrel trying to get a nut.

It figures to be tough gettin’ today. If the Patriots manage to pull off THIS upset, Bill Belichick will be calling David Halberstam again.

Somebody needs to do a friggin’ study on why the Patriots lose so many defensive backs to injury every year. There is somebody working on that, right? Bad luck just doesn’t cut it, does it?

Is this the inevitable downside of favoring smallish db’s?

All week I’m thinking to myself, “the Patriots never play well in Cincinnati.”

I had no real idea why I thought that, so I looked it up.

The Patriots actually lead the all-time series, 11-8, which surprised me until I remembered that the Patriots have always handled the Bengals (in their many incarnations) in Foxboro. In Cincinnati, the Pats have actually done better than I thought – they’ve won 4 of the 10 games played. But they’ve lost 4 of the last 5, beginning with a 41-7 thrashing in 1990. For some reason, a 45-7 pounding in 1970 still sticks in my head. I was 12, and it was the last game of a terribly forgettable 2-12 season – that must have been a hell of a whipping to leave its mark this long.

I laughed when I was reading about the last Patriots regular season win in Cincinnati (a 31-28 win in 1994). Michael Timpson, of all people, had 10 catches for 125 yards, including a 3rd quarter touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe that put the Pats ahead for good. I’ll be damned if I can remember anything about that.

I see another Ron Borges snuff film has been posted below. Where is Congress while this filth is so boldly and unapologetically transmitted across public airwaves? Where is the investigation, the hearings, the jail time?

I ask them, have they no sense of decency?