Fay: Bengals looking to move on from Ravens loss -- and quickly

Plus some other thoughts from a weekend of sports

CINCINNATI -- NFL teams detest playing on Thursday nights. Too little time to rest and heal up. Too little time to game plan. It takes you out of your routine, and football is all about routine.

All that said, the Bengals will be very happy to play Thursday. That’s how bad the loss to Baltimore Ravens was. When you lose 20-0 and turn it over five times, you’re ready to move on — quickly.

The Bengals get a chance Thursday night when the Houston Texans come to town. 

Andy Dalton pointed that out about 13 times during his postgame press conference Sunday. 

The most interesting thing Marvin Lewis said in his postgame presser was this when asked about the pressure on Dalton:

“We’ve got to do a better job. If we’ve got to move him (in the pocket). Whatever we’ve got to do, but we can’t have the tipped balls like we’ve had. They played a big part in the game.”

Dalton is 6 feet 2 inches tall. That’s short for an NFL quarterback. He’s always had his share of tipped balls at the line. But with two very unproven tackles in Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher, it’s paramount that the team figures a way for Dalton to get the ball away cleanly.

Terrell Suggs wore out Ogbuehi Sunday. Suggs has been to six Pro Bowls and has 116.5 career sacks. He’s good. But J.J. Watt, who plays for Houston, is better.  

Houston is in the same situation as the Bengals. The Texans lost to Jacksonville at home 29-7. 

BURFICT DEBATE

Vontaze Burfict’s contract extension sparked a whole new round of Vontaze Burfict debate. 

Burfict is a living, breathing, hitting example of the dichotomy the NFL and football in general faces. There’s concerted efforts to make the game safer. 

But there is clearly value in having a player like Burfict, who makes the game more dangerous for opponents and himself.

Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis see that value.

“(Burfict’s) a 250-pound man that hits like dynamite,” Lewis said after the most recent suspension. “It’s like getting hit by a cement truck. And that’s the way he plays. He’s got great hip explosion. That’s why he’s the player he is. The dynamics of his body are such that he hits like a 300-pound man.”

I love football. I hate what it’s done to some its best players. I think to continue to enjoy it you have to accept the new reality: The rules have changed. The last Burfict infraction was borderline, but he has to learn to stay away from that border.

FICKELL FOOTBALL

I was impressed with the way the University of Cincinnati hung in there with Michigan. The game had the potential to be a 51-7 blowout with the way it started. 

The Bearcats recovered and made a game out of it — for three quarters at least. I think Luke Fickell will right the ship at UC, but it may take time. The Bearcats are in the stretch of three road games — Michigan, rival Miami and Navy. 

RAMSEY’S BIG DAY

Former Elder quarterback Peyton Ramsey was mighty impressive in his debut for Indiana. He completed his first 11 passes after taking over for Richard Lagow. 

Ramsey ended up 16 for-20 for 173 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 34-17 road victory at Virginia. 

Ramsey, the son of Elder coach Doug, is a redshirt freshman. Word out of Bloomington was that he’d eventually supplant Lagow, but it wasn’t expected to happen this soon. 

New coach Tom Allen went with Ramsey after Lagow struggled early.  Ramsey made the most of his chance.  

QUANTITY = QUALITY FOR REDS

A lot of people wonder if the Reds recent runs of good starts is a mirage or a good sign for 2018.

I’d say good sign.

While you can’t make too much of September results when the team is hopelessly out of the race, I think it’s a good sign because the Reds are getting solid performances from four young starts. Well, they were before they shut Luis Castillo down. 

If Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani are healthy and the Reds add a veteran like they’ve talked about, they only need two or three of the four to be in the rotation. Castillo has earned one of the spots. 

If you have Robert Stephenson, Sal Ramano, Tyler Mahle and the veteran-to-be-signed-later competing for the fourth and fifth spot, that’s a good thing. Brandon Finnegan, Amir Garrett and Cody Reed will also be in the mix. 

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