Allen Park — The Cincinnati Bengals have been embarrassed the past two weeks by NFC North foes, but coach Marvin Lewis insists his team isn’t giving up on the season.
“Effort has been fine,” Lewis said during a conference call with Detroit reporters on Wednesday. “We haven’t made enough productive football plays on either side of the football to have an opportunity to win the game.”
That’s an understatement.
Two weeks ago, the Chicago Bears came to town and ran roughshod over the Bengals, 33-7. The Bears outgained the Bengals, 482-234, and the margin of victory was bigger than the Bears’ previous three wins combined.
Last Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings were the hammer and the Bengals were the nail in a 34-7 drubbing. This time the Bengals were held to 161 yards of offense.
Despite the appearance of a team that’s coasting to the finish line and with Lewis reportedly on his way out, Lions coach Jim Caldwell isn’t about to downplay the opponent.
“They have players, really good players, and I just see a team with talent, with ability,” Caldwell said. “If you look at how they started out in a few games here not too long ago, you know they’re still very capable.”
Injuries could also be a significant issue for the Bengals this week. Running back Joe Mixon (concussion) returned to practice on Wednesday, but star linebacker Vontaze Burfict and both starting offensive tackles, Andre Smith and Cedric Ogbuehi, remained sidelined.