The Steelers of course made their miracle run to Super Bowl XL and finally earned “One for the Thumb” almost a month after the Cincinnati game. The Bengals however weren’t so lucky.
Even though Palmer came back, and did in fact beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh during the 2006 regular season, Cincinnati missed the post-season. Why? Well future Super Bowl M.V.P. and Rookie WR Sansmokio Holmes took a slant pass from Big Ben in O.T. of the team’s Week 17 matchup for a long TD and Cincinnati’s Playoff dreams went up in smoke.
Palmer suffered through two medicore/injury plagued seasons in 2007 and 2008 where the Bengals drastically underachieved. Luckily for Palmer, he got at least a bit of redemption in 2009 when the Bengals swept the Steelers and won the A.F.C. North again. Sadly for them, they lost the Wild Card game that they were hosting and went 4-12 the following season.
Palmer, sick of Cincinnati and the organization, demanded a trade. And finally Mike Brown shipped him off to Oakland close to a month ago. Finished was an era that for a brief minute saw the Bengals on the right track. They had given their Pro Bowl QB a $90 million contract, had a great Offense, and a Defense that thrived on causing turnovers. Riding high, they finally appeared ready to join the A.F.C.’s elite in 2005. Sadly, in one foul swoop Kimo von Oelhoffen completely altered sports history.
Would the Bengals have won the game had Palmer been able to finish? Nobody knows. We can play the “What If?” game all we want, but nothing will change what took place and has happened up to this point. Cincinnati appears to be on the right track again with QB Andy Dalton at the helm and a stout Defense. Maybe this is the time that they can change the 2 Decades of dominance by the Steelers in the rivalry?
Tune in Sunday afternoon to find out.
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