The Morning After

I woke up today, roughly 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off, laboring through unsettled dreams reliving the handful of plays that might have made a material difference in my beloved Bengals’ squeaky loss to the Chiefs last night. I was gutted when KC’s field goal sailed through the goal posts, and spent most of the hours afterwards just trying to process the loss.

At certain points throughout the game — especially moment in the second half — winning felt nearly inevitable, because this team has risen to meet the clutch moments so many times in the past two seasons. It was a shocking bucket of ice cold water dumped overhead when Joe Burrow was sacked for the final time with less than a minute to go.

That’s not how the the story goes; that’s not how this script was written.

Except, it was. The game was an excellent football matchup, and I will attempt over the course of the next 24 hours to slowly transition my thoughts from, “We could have won” to “I am so proud of this team that played in two consecutive AFC Championships.”

The wound is too raw yet for that particular healing scab to form, but I’ll get there before long. Winning a championship is difficult. Only one team gets to do it. I wholeheartedly believe the Bengals will be that team eventually, and even not knowing the when or how, I take great comfort in knowing that this team is set to compete for it ever year for the foreseeable future. That’s not how it’s been for most of my life, and I am glad I can be confident that my kids that have grown into fandom will likely (hopefully) never have to survive the decades-long annual humbling that I experienced.

For now, I’m still not over losing, but I will be soon. This was a disappointing loss, but not a soul-crushing one, like many of the other playoff losses in recent memory (*cough* 2015 *cough*). And although I’m admittedly somewhat grumpy about it, I dare anyone to utter some nonsense like, “Some old Bungles” within my earshot this week.

Now, with the football season concluded (in late January even!), I feel like the old calendar page has finally been torn away, revealing an actual new year, ripe with opportunity. But that’s a different post entirely.

Today I’m going to mope a little, tomorrow I will look ahead to what I firmly believe is a bright future for this team and fans like me.

And with that shiny optimism ahead, here’s to hoping we get some better depth at offensive line.


One thought on “The Morning After

  1. I was also extremely disappointed! I so want to see a Super Bowl win in my lifetime, as I’m sure all of us do, especially Mike Brown. I think if the offensive line had not been so injured we would have had a better shot. But I’m proud of this team – I hope they stay together so we have another shot!


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