Morning stripes: Bengals get to celebrate

September, 17, 2013
9/17/13
8:00
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Rest assured, they will want them to be brief, but for at least a few hours Monday night and into Tuesday morning, the Cincinnati Bengals had good reason to let the celebrations flow.

After an extra 60 minutes of trying, they finally walked away with their first win of the regular season with Monday night's 20-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. As Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson put it, now they can get the bad taste of Week 1's debacle at Chicago out of their mouths. Cincinnati can officially move on and allow its confidence to grow.

As you'll come to find out in the next day or two, the Bengals -- correctly -- believe it wasn't the prettiest victory, but a win is a win is a win. Right now, they will take them in whatever fashion they are packaged.

To help kick off this victorious morning, why don't you take a look at this Tuesday's a.m. stripes:
  • We start by encouraging you to check out all of ESPN's coverage from Monday night by going to the ESPN NFL Nation Bengals page. There, you'll see our pre- and post-game analysis that included a rapid, at-the-final-whistle reaction to the win, a few on-field interviews, highlights and a quick wrap of the buzz from inside Cincinnati's locker room following the game. I'm mainly teasing our coverage to also get you to check out my column on how the versatile Giovani Bernard gives the Bengals' offense an added dimension. When it comes to building its run game, there's only one mantra Cincinnati should have: "Go, go. Go, Gio, go."
  • One more link from the good folks at the Worldwide Leader. This one comes from my ESPN.com colleague Kevin Seifert, who was in town for Monday night's game. Kevin poses an interesting postulation on the Steelers after the way the Bengals flexed their muscles in the big prime-time win: Is this it? Is this truly the end of the line for the Steelers? With one ugly loss (last week to Tennessee) and now another that was full of uncomfortable, arrhythmic play, Pittsburgh no longer looks like the team that had been dominating the AFC North alongside Baltimore. That title appears to have shifted.
  • Speaking of the big divisional shift, Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke wrote on that very topic in his analysis of Cincinnati's big win. In many ways, the game was a matter of young versus old. The Bengals, featuring more packages and plays that called on getting the ball to the electrifying Bernard, looked like a shiny Porsche in comparison to the aging jalopy the Steel City put on display. Still, before fans and media get too quick to write off Pittsburgh, Burke writes, just remember how talented this older team really is. While the balance of power may have shifted between these teams for one night, it might not be permanent. In order to avoid complacency, the Bengals might want to continue thinking that way themselves.
  • Next, we turn to the Cincinnati Enquirer, where columnist Paul Daugherty has an interesting take on the night. The Bengals were in need of a big, dominating, soul-crushing win over the Steelers. Had they gotten that Monday night, they might fully be justified in having the hype and acclaim that came with their brief summer on HBO's "Hard Knocks." But again, a win is a win is a win. Even if the game may have caused some to yawn at times or flip the channel, it was a much-needed victory, Daugherty wrote.
  • Sticking with the Enquirer, here's the way Paul Dehner, Jr. saw the game go in a quarter-by-quarter breakdown that features a photo gallery from the Enquirer's photo staff.
  • Finally, we head over to Bengals.com where Geoff Hobson has a couple of notes from the contest. As had been expected, left offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth made his return to the lineup, and boy, was he proud of getting back on the field. The lineman was so energized that he ended up in a couple of altercations late in the game. Officials deemed them minor enough to allow them to go on penalty free. Along with Whitworth's appearance, there was another sighting on offense: Defensive tackle Domata Peko switched for a few plays to offense, where he served as an H-back in extra run-blocking situations.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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