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Monday, October 28, 2013
Morning Stripes: Playground bully edition

By Coley Harvey

One columnist compared the Cincinnati Bengals' absolute demolition of the New York Jets on Sunday to the NFL's equivalent of a big FBS program scheduling a smaller, cash-strapped FCS program for an early-season money game.

Some fans, chief among them the wife of a player on the team that got flattened 49-9, considered the beatdown something else.

They took it all the way back to grade school.

In the middle of the rout, Terricka Cason, the wife of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, got on Twitter to vent her frustrations at what was taking place. In her eyes, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton seemingly could do no wrong as he worked his way toward an eventual 325-yard, five-touchdown performance. His go-to receiver, Marvin Jones, ended up having a franchise-record four touchdown receptions.

Cason profoundly summed up her husband's team's performance against the Bengals in the following 44 characters: "Dalton making this s--- look like pop warner."

It was the NFL equivalent of a bully beatdown of epic proportions. Except this time, the once puny and wimpish Bengals were suddenly built like a team full of Popeyes, pounding out the type of Herculean victory that made it seem there wasn't even another team on the field. For the record, it should be pointed out that Cason's frustrations ended with an uplifting tweet about knowing "the effort that these guys put forth each week win or lose GO JETS." So she's still standing by her team.

This Monday morning, Bengals fans are certainly standing by theirs as well. Finally, the rest of the league is seeing what they already knew: That this team is pretty strong. Ahead of Thursday night's prime-time game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday's absolute throttling of one of the more scrutinized and studied teams in the country was the type of emphatic win that turned heads that might have paid a cursory glance at the Bengals before. Now, with convincing wins like this one, many are paying full attention.

As we go through the next few days, it will be interesting to see how the Bengals respond to the national respect that has suddenly come to their doorstep. For now, though, let's look back quickly at the playground bullies' most recent win: