Popo's Tuesday Morning Rush for Sept. 13

Don't ask Marvin about Wild Card game
Posted at 9:07 AM, Sep 13, 2016

It's Tuesday, Sept. 13.

REMEMBER? I DON'T: On this date in 2002, the Cubs outhit the Reds 22-17, but lost the game to the Reds 15-12.

AND THEN THERE WAS THIS: On this date in 1955, Cincinnati native Tony Trabert won the US Lawn Tennis Association Championships with a victory over Ken Rosewall. This is what's now known as the US Open.  Trabert went to Walnut Hills High School and UC.

AND HERE'S SOME TRIVIA: When Trabert was at UC, he also also a starter for the Bearcats on the basketball team. A wonderful guy who did tennis broadcasts for many years with Pat Summerall on CBS.

STEELERS WEEK: You'll hear Marvin Lewis talk about the outstanding players of the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. You know he'll say nice things about Coach Mike Tomlin...he'll probably remember with fondness the time he spent in Pittsburgh as a coach. But don't expect him to say much about the Jan. 9 Bengals-Steelers playoff game in which the Bengals imploded. A reporter started to bring up the game Monday at Marvin's weekly presser. "New team, new season, new year," said the Bengals coach. Another reporter tried a follow-up question in the same vein. "New team, new season, new year," Lewis repeated with a slight grin. A reporter started to asked Marvin if he'd address the team on the subject. He never got out the full question. "New team, new season, new year," is what we heard again. One last try. A reporter asked "is it possible you won't say anything?" Once more the coach answered, "New team, new season new year."

He knew the questions would be coming and he was ready; he put out the fire before it starts. Sometimes in Cincinnati, we relive bad moments too often. The coach plainly wanted to move on.

Of course it is a new season and a new year, but there's a core of players who have to still ache when they think about how close they came to dispensing the Steelers on Jan. 9. One player fumbled and two others came unwound -- and the Steelers laughed their way to the next playoff round.

Lewis knows it makes no sense to dwell on that game. The players who were there don't need to be reminded.  The new players shouldn't be burdened with the sins of the past. Forget history. Go into Pittsburgh with a clean slate.

It's the smart route to take. Why trouble these guys with what has or hasn't happened in the past? Most of these young guys don't care about ancient history. Who wants to be associated with a failure? It's better to prepare these guys for success.

I did see a couple of instances Sunday where guys are listening. Lewis mentioned this in the news conference.  When the Bengals were driving the ball in the closing seconds of the first half, Andy Dalton hit rookie Tyler Boyd with a pass over the middle for 14 yards. Boyd immediately set the ball down and got ready for the next play which was a Mike Nugent field goal. He used his head and saved precious seconds.  

Then, in closing moments of the game, Josh Shaw picked off a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass. He was quickly body slammed by the intended receiver Eric Decker. Maybe Decker figured he could get the Bengals unglued again.  Shaw and George Iloka were in the middle of some serious jawing.  Suddenly 6-foot-7 Michael Johnson appeared out of nowhere and plucked his teammates out of harm's way. End of game.

Yup, Jan. 9 happened eight months ago. We don't need to be reminded. The coach knows the players don't need to be reminded.

But I think he'd better remind them about playing in Pittsburgh: It's brutal, and I'm not talking about the weather.

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