“Was it a Steelers hangover? Who knows?” safety George Iloka said. “Was it other things? Who knows? We were just playing out of character.”
While the game doesn’t mean anything to the Bengals’ chances, it could mark a turning point in club history.
Coach Marvin Lewis is finishing his contract after 15 seasons in Cincinnati, the second-longest current tenure in the NFL behind New England’s Bill Belichick.
Lewis and owner Mike Brown couldn’t agree on terms of an extension after a six-win season in 2017. Brown said he’d see how the team fared this season before deciding Lewis’ fate.
Lewis has denied a report that he’ll reject any overtures to stay, but has been coy about his wishes.
“Oh, I’m not going to reflect if this is my last game or not,” Lewis said Wednesday.
Players have seen nothing different in Lewis this week as he gets ready to visit Baltimore, where he first caught the Bengals’ eye as coordinator of the Ravens’ Super Bowl championship defense.
“He’s handled it like he would handle any other game,” Dalton said. “We haven’t seen any change in him. He’s still doing everything he can to get us ready and get us going.”
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (shoulder), running back Joe Mixon (ankle), left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi (shoulder), cornerback William Jackson III (knee) and receiver/returner Alex Erickson (ankle) were held out of practice Wednesday. Running back Giovani Bernard was limited by an ankle injury.
The Bengals practiced at the University of Cincinnati’s covered field because of the extremely cold weather. They’re the only northern NFL team without their own covered practice field.