So now, on top of not being able to block for their quarterback, the Bengals were apparently yukking it up in their locker room after getting schooled by the Steelers.
Here's the question: Why is that important?
Check the calendar. It's 2017. This isn't 1965 and Vince Lombardi isn't the gold standard for coaching in the National Football League.
As great as he was, Lombardi hasn't been the gold standard for a long time. When he coached, it was "my way or the highway."
Other coaches, back then, ruled in the same fashion. Paul Brown once cut a guy at halftime and booted another player off the team plane when he smelled liquor on his breath.
In game film reviews, Brown was notorious for using a laser pointer to highlight individual mistakes, sometimes re-running the film several times, simply pointing his laser at the screen without comment. It was a quaint time, devoid of social media, "hot takes" and 24/7 television talking heads.
You could get away with criticizing and humiliating players back then. Now, It's called "showing him up."
Which was worse? I don't know.
Both fit their times, I guess. Times change, people change and so does the way we view everything.
In Brown's era, losing a football game meant losing everything for a player. It literally could mean losing his job. There were no guaranteed contracts back then and a line out the door waiting to take a player's job.
In the "not so watered down talent" days of the '60s and '70s, before the NFL-AFL merger, the NFL had 15 teams. Post merger, in 1972, the NFL had 26 teams. Now, there are 32.
Fewer teams meant fewer jobs, with a deeper pool from which to pick replacements. That's not so much the case anymore.
Have you seen the dregs of the NFL this year? Take a look at the Colts' roster or the 49ers' roster.
Lombardi and Brown could rule with an iron fist because they had limited teams in their league and an abundance of talent from which to choose.
Sure, free agency has changed football. It's changed every professional sport.
But what's changed football more is how society has changed. If a generation is defined by 25 years, then the two plus generations of Americans since the 1960s are vastly different than the ones raised by the so called "Greatest Generation."
Today's athlete is vastly different, too.
Winning isn't everything to today's athlete, because there is so much more to consume his time.
And so, when you hear stories about some Bengals, allegedly, laughing and joking after getting embarrassed, again, by a team that is everything they're not, it shouldn't be a surprise.
To older fans, behavior like that after losing a game is abhorrent. But increasingly to those of younger generations it is not. It's a way of life. They move on.
I don't know if that's good or bad, but in the world of the "20 somethings," it is the way it is.
What should be of more concern to the Bengals, and their fans, is the offensive line's continual problem of blocking.
Here's that problem in a nutshell: They can't run block, which means they can't run, which means they can't pass. When you can't run the ball, it means safeties and linebackers can cheat back in pass coverage. It's exactly what the Steelers did Sunday and why A.J. Green disappeared in the second half of that game.
But here's a novel concept: Sometimes, it's OK to just throw the ball to Green, whether he's open or not. Sometimes, there's no better cure for a struggling offense than a couple of well timed pass interference calls.
You can't get those, if you don't try to throw the ball Green's way. And mysteriously on Sunday, the Bengals didn't.
And I'm baffled by the fact that Joe Mixon had exactly zero carries in the second half of that game in Pittsburgh. But while he and you are wondering about that, how about this: Maybe Mixon should work on his blitz pick up. He whiffed on a block in the fourth quarter and got his quarterback sacked.
Now, some random thoughts on a random Thursday....
The punishment for Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryan, acting like an idiot on social media, running down a teammate and demanding a trade? Benched for the Steelers-Lions game this Sunday. Good for Mike Tomlin.
The current NBA season is less than 10 games old and already we've got speculation into where LeBron James plays after this season. But here's a question no one seems to be asking: Would he really want to go to L.A. and put up with the nightly nonsense of LaVar Ball? I think that'd make playing alongside Kyrie Irving seem like a poetry reading.
It would hard to let today pass without remembering Fats Domino, who died Wednesday at the age of 89. He was at the birthplace of Rock and Roll, ushering it in from rhythm and blues.
Antoine Domino Jr. was born In New Orleans. He was a child prodigy, mastering the piano in late teens. He caught the ear of a New Orleans bandleader at a backyard party and earned a spot in the band. The bandleader was Billy Diamond, who gave Domino his nickname, not so much because of Domino's hefty stature. It was more because his style of playing the piano reminded Diamond of the legendary Fats Waller. He had a big hit in 1956, which became Domino's signature song, "Blueberry Hill."
In his time, Domino charted more than 30 Top 40 hits. Only Elvis Presley, as a solo artist, was commercially more successful than Domino. He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, class of 1986.
And when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, he refused to leave his home until he was rescued by helicopter when the water from the storm rose to his roof. His cause of death was listed as "natural causes," although there was nothing natural about his life.