Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bengals-Chargers: Series History Says Sunday Shootout

This is going to be the weirdest Bengals game of all time. Hands down, you can not argue that. It's going to be a weird game for the fans, a weird game for the cheerleaders and a weird game for the water boy.

Are the Bengals going to come out in a post-Chris Henry funk and lay a big fat ostrich egg (no one would blame them if they did) or are they going to come out and put up 59 points in the first quarter?

If you're a Chargers fan, can you even talk trash to Bengals fans? Would you? If any San Diego fan says a negative thing about Henry (like life has a way of taking out its own trash, which by the way is one of the lower things we've heard here), would a police officer even arrest the Bengals fan for retaliating with a right handed uppercut to the Chargers fan's face.

A lot of questions will be answered in the next 24 hours. So many that INSIC founder John Breech made his whole family go out to San Diego to A. judge the mood of the team and B. be as far away as possible during the holidays. Hopefully they'll offer some sort of recap come Monday.

Anyway, lets do our thing and look at the top 3 games in series history.

Fact to impress drunk people with: Exactly 27 years to the day, the Bengals are back in San Diego. The last time the Bengals played a December 20 game in sunny Southern California, it was Monday night and the two teams gave the nation a fireworks show. For the first and only time in NFL history, both quarterbacks passed for over 400 yards. Ken Anderson finished with 416 while the Chargers Dan Fouts ended up with 435. This game isn't in INSIC's top 3 though because we're Bengals fans here and Cincinnati lost the game 50-34.

All-Time Series: Chargers lead 18-10* Bengals lead 1-0 in the postseason

* = will be 18-11 Bengals Following Sunday's game

Lets get to the countdown:

3. November 12, 2006, Cincinnati

In case you haven't noticed, the 2006 season was pretty much an AIDS epidemic for Bengals fans. We all experienced it and we're going to feel the effects forever. Think about it, there was the Christmas Eve game against the Broncos (six words: Brad St. Louis, botched extra point snap). If you didn't swallow 16 pints of cyanide laced apple juice after that game, then you were alive the next week when the Steelers ended the Bengals playoff hopes in overtime on New Year's eve. Hey, can I borrow your shot gun please.

Here's what you may not know, the official 'Bengal fan suicide watch' actually began with this game. The Bengals had a 28-7 lead at half time. This would be like giving Usain Bolt a 20 meter head start in a 100 meter race, no chance at losing.

But this is the Bengals and there is always a burn inside each and every fan that doesn't go away until the clock hits 0:00. In this game, the burn, like an incurable STD, didn't go away. Before the third quarter was over the Chargers cut the lead to 31-28. But the Bengals didn't roll over and die. On their next possession Palmer hit Ocho with a 74-yard bomb that gave the Bengals a 38-28 lead. For the love of Boomer Esiason, all the Bengals had to do was get a few first downs and start running out the clock.

But they didn't. Now, we are not going to rehash the final 10 minutes of this game because we will go into seizures and probably have a conniption fit. But let's just say the Bengals didn't win.

Result: San Diego 49, Cincinnati 41

2. September 22, 1985, Cincinnati

The Bengals-Chargers series is like sending two porn stars on a blind date, you know everyone is going to score and they're going to score a lot.

Boomer Esiason went balls out in this game and threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns. The only problem, Dan Fouts one upped Esiason every step of the way throwing for 344 yards and four touchdowns. When Larry Kinnebrew scored from 8-yards out to give the Bengals a 41-34 fourth quarter lead, it looked like Cincinnati just might hold on. Well, it looked like that for all of one minute and 34 seconds because that's how long it took San Diego to respond as Fouts hit wide receiver Lionel James for a 60-yard TD pass. The 1985 Bengals were the 2006 Bengals before the 2006 Bengals were the 2006 Bengals. So think AIDS epidemic and then guess who won this game...

The Chargers did... on a 34-yard Bob Thomas field goal.

Result: San Diego 44, Cincinnati 41

January 10, 1982, Cincinnati, AFC Championship "The Freezer Bowl"

Imagine your a Chargers player and you just spent all season in sunny tropical weather. Then you get off the plane for the AFC Championship game in Cincinnati. The weather in the Queen City? A balmy -9 degrees. If you want to factor in the windchill, lets call it -57. Yes people, you read that right: fifty-seven degrees below zero. This game should not have been called the freezer bowl, why? Because a freezer is not this cold. A freezer is about 25 degrees. This game was 72 degrees COLDER than a freezer. From now on we will be referring to this game as the "72 degrees COLDER than a freezer bowl."

Anyway, as you can probably imagine, the Chargers never had a chance. The Bengals O-line wore short sleeves. It was 17-0 before San Diego finally figured out that it wasn't going to get any warmer and if ESPN classic is to be believed, ticket takers got so cold they just gave up taking tickets midway through the first quarter and let anyone in. This was the AFC Championship, could you imagine that happening today.

Anyway, Jim Breech kicked two field goals (31, 38) and the Bengals got touchdowns from M.L. Harris, Pete Johnson and Don Bass. The Chargers fumbled the ball four times and for the most of the day, they looked more lost than an illiterate person eating alphabet soup.

Result: Cincinnati 27, San Diego 7

Bengals advance to Super Bowl XVI

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