I can't say much has changed since. I walked away from the game feeling disappointed in the result but not all that discouraged, and still feeling the same way about this team through three games that I felt before the season began.
I felt like it was a 9-7 team before they played a game. I feel like it's a 9-7 team after they've played three.
I feel in late September like this is a team with a nice group of young guys that's far from a complete and finished product.
I felt that way in late August.
If a takeaway from yesterday's game is needed, it's that the Bengals still badly need Vontaze Burfict to be on the field. They have capable replacements for any number of quality players. There's no one who can do what Burfict does, and his absence was a big factor yesterday.
So too was Alex Redmond's hold penalty, which preceded the Randy Bullock 53-yard miss. The margin for error is way too thin for this team. I wonder what happens if the Bengals have second and three from the 18 instead of first and 20 from the 35.
Here's some other stuff....
What an entertaining game at Nippert Stadium on Saturday, and what a gut check performance by my Bearcats against Ohio. At 21-0, I was among those who wanted to see Luke Fickell turn to Hayden Moore for a series. Instead, Desmond Ridder stayed in the game, and was fantastic. Some of Frank Solich's decisions at the end of the game were interesting, and needless to say the officiating was way too much a part of the story, but the Cats deserve huge measures of credit for the way they responded, down 21-0 and 24-7. The program is pointed upward, and this team could actually be bowl eligible by the bye. Unreal.
The UK team I watched on Saturday is legit. A bona fide star in Benny Snell, and a defense that confused Mississippi State all night. It'd be fun if the Wildcats were actually good, and this season, I actually think they are.
The last four times I've watched the New England Patriots play, they've been the less-talented, less-prepared team.
Pat Mahomes is my favorite football player ever. I felt like you needed to know this.
I also need to tell you that as someone who's openly bitched for years about the quality of early-season NFL games, I've loved the first three weeks, even with the league's ridiculous roughing the passer rules.
Tiger Woods' comeback is easily 2018's best sports story, and one of the best comebacks we've had. The final few holes of his Tour Championship win yesterday was fantastic, compelling television, and watching it, you could tell he was half amazed that he was in the position to finally win a golf tournament, and half feeling like he knows that bigger things are in store for 2019. I can't wait to see what Tiger can do next year, and beyond.
Here's some other stuff....
Hawk Harrelson is my kind of guy.
Every NFL GM should follow this edict.
An NBA team hired a sportswriter, which is interesting.
Radio Show: Tony Pike. Me. You. And the Bengals. Plus, Marvin Lewis. All at 3:05 on ESPN1530.