For a second straight week, the Cincinnati Bengals are waking up the day after a game feeling like winners.
For a second straight week, they enter a meaningful game with their confidence raised and their spirits high.
Hopefully by now you've checked out our wall-to-wall coverage of the Bengals' 34-30 win over the Packers over at the ESPN NFL Nation Bengals blog. In the event you haven't, here's a quick sneak peek into the items you'll read about once you click over. For starters, after finally catching a few breaks and gutting out a pair of physical wins, the Bengals are starting to prove they aren't the team your dad -- or you -- has come to know over the years. This team looks like it's got something serious going, and that it isn't planning to let it go anytime soon.
Next, you'll read about how the Bengals' defense rose up to the occasion when it mattered most; specifically on two crucial Green Bay drives into the red zone. When chaos was occurring on offense -- an interception followed by three straight fumbles -- Cincinnati's defenders held firm and only allowed a pair of field goals despite facing unfavorable field position.
Finally, you'll read a series of quick, just-after-the-final-whistle analysis blog posts and one that takes you inside the locker room following the buzz-worthy victory.
Now, as we unveil this latest batch of Morning stripes, let's check out how others viewed Sunday's big win:
Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty is, like so many others, trying to wrap his mind around what all happened at the end of Sunday's game that led to the victory for the Bengals. After all the wackiness that occurred in the game, from the eight combined turnovers to the eight combined sacks to the blocked PAT to the stumbling and bumbling final fumble recovery, just how did the Bengals pull out the win? Typically, those types of games don't go their way.
Sticking with the Enquirer, Bengals beat writer Joe Reedy evaluates the win in his "Fifth Quarter" look at the ballgame. Check out his keys to the game and see who he thought deserved to win the game ball. I'll give you a hint: you'll be hearing about the group in the next bullet point.
When the Bengals restructured deals for defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap in the offseason, they were banking on the pair to have a big year. (Yes, they were hoping for the same thing for Geno Atkins, who hasn't quite had as fast of a start to the season as most would like following his $55 million extension.) So far, the tandem has earned every new penny it has made. Sunday afternoon, they proved they will be this season, in the words of Bengals.com's Geoff Hobson, "ends to a means." If Cincinnati continues to play this well, the playoffs are a certainty. Its path to the postseason, however, will be determined by how well the ends and the rest of the defense continues to perform.
Keeping with the theme that something different is in the air around Paul Brown Stadium, FoxSports Ohio's Kevin Goheen writes about how the Bengals overcame their usually poor luck with challenge calls and got one big call reversed in their favor Sunday afternoon. That challenge, along with one last week against Pittsburgh, gave the Bengals a chance to stockpile another big, meaningful win.