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I typically write a blog entry immediately after Bengals games. Win or lose, there's usually something new or different to write about. Something to react to. Something that's moved me emotionally. It's an entry that's normally very easy to write.
After yesterday's Bengals loss to the Titans, I sat down in front of my laptop and stared blankly at the screen for about 40 minutes without typing a word. I tried again a few hours later, and then once more as Sunday crept toward Monday. Nothing came of my effort.
We're to the point where there really is nothing new to say about the things that have doomed this team. Any analysis is simply regurgitation of the the same themes we've beaten to death throughout the season. All them manifested themselves yesterday in Nashville. Bad offensive line. Shaky quarterback play. The coach's apparent hatred of his team's first round pick. Lack of discipline. The wrong things happening (8 billions third down penalties) at precisely the wrong time.
Emotionally, I'm where most fans are right now. Exasperated, yes. Frustrated, sure. But mainly, just resignation. I've been resigned to what this team would be and how this season is going to end since about midway through the second game. My enthusiasm for the Bengals has been drained, and I find myself more exhausted with the Bengals than I am interested in them.
Not simply because of the losing, but more because of the sameness of the losing. Yesterday's loss might've followed a different script than the previous five - and in the moments right after AJ Green waltzed into the end zone to give the Bengals a lead, I allowed myself to start thinking about what stealing a win would mean in the big picture - but the feeling both during and after the loss were painfully familiar.
Which left me too unmoved to write.
The obvious questions are about what's next, but there's a triteness about that discussion too. I'm nearly as bored with talking about what the Bengals need to do to change their fortunes as I am with their coach/quarterback combo. The team's deficiencies have been evident for months, their offseason to-do list having been etched in stone since long before we reached the season's midway point. There's really nothing new to add to it.
And we have seven more weeks.
I'm tapped out talking about the crappy offensive line and why the Bengals allowed that position group to deteriorate. I have nothing new to say about Vontaze Burfict being too dumb to get out of his own way. The dueling dead horses of wondering what life would be like with a different head coach or a better quarterback have rotted. I'm too numb to really get worked up about a defense's lack of preparation leading to six gifted third downs.
This is not the first bad Bengals season, obviously. But it's easily been the least fun. I've been rooting for this team for most of my life and for more than three decades their travails have always moved me to feel something and over the last ten years, nearly every Bengals development has inspired me to say something.
Yesterday, I was inspired to stare blankly at a screen.