Saturday, December 22, 2012
Bengals are division's road warriors
By Jamison Hensley
In a span of a few years, the Bengals have gone from the one of the NFL's worst road teams to one of the best. Cincinnati is 5-2 away from home as it heads into Sunday's showdown at Pittsburgh.
The only teams in the league with five or more road wins this season -- Atlanta, San Francisco, New England, Houston and Denver -- have all clinched playoff berths, which may be a good sign for a Bengals team looking to secure a postseason spot Sunday.
The Bengals, who haven't lost on the road since Oct. 14, are seeking their first four-game road win streak since 2009, the last time they won the AFC North. This is quite a turnaround for the Bengals, who were 1-7 on the road in 2010 (only the Panthers were worse). In the two seasons since then, the Bengals have won 10 games away from Cincinnati, which is two more than any other team in the division.
Based on their record, the Bengals would prefer to play on the road than at Paul Brown Stadium. Since Andy Dalton took over as quarterback, the Bengals are 10-5 on the road and 7-8 in Cincinnati.
Asked why the Bengals play better on the road than at home, coach Marvin Lewis said, "I don’t know that it really matters, home or away. You’ve got to go play, wherever it is. You’d like to be perfect at home -- that’s one of my goals every season, be perfect here at Paul Brown (Stadium). The home field crowd is a big advantage. It’s a disadvantage to your offense to be on the road -- I know that. But I don’t know the reason why. I do know our guys do a good job of circling the wagons and know it’s just about us. That’s a good thing. But I can’t answer it.”
Lewis just hopes these young Bengals find the answer to winning at Heinz Field. Cincinnati lost by 28 points last season in Pittsburgh (35-7), which ties the Steelers' largest margin of victory in this series with the Bengals.