The Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions are two of the NFL's upstart teams, so it was fair to view Sunday's matchup at Ford Field as a test of sorts. The winner would take a strong hold of first place of their division, with the loser falling back in the pack a bit. Both teams were out to prove that they could be dominant when called upon. With a game-winning field goal as time expired, the Bengals left Detroit as with a nice surge of momentum going into the turn of the regular season.
For the Lions, all isn't lost. The teams is still 4-3, just a half game behind the Green Bay Packers, who are 4-2. While there are naturally concerns about the secondary, the Lions can at least take solace in the fact that Calvin Johnson is back at 100 percent, according to Sean Yuille at Lions blog Pride of Detroit.
Johnson didn't quite look like himself against the Cleveland Browns, likely because he wasn't 100 percent healthy. He was on the sideline quite a bit, and he only had 3 catches for 25 yards. Sunday was a much different story, though. Johnson did look like himself again, and he finished with 9 catches for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of those scores was the result of him out-jumping three defenders, so I think it's safe to say Megatron is healthy again.
For the Bengals, Sunday's win was just another example that the franchise has turned a corner, according to Josh Kirkendall at Bengals blog Cincy Jungle. The Bengals overcame several potentially crippling injuries and bad early mistakes to score a defining win.
It wasn't the scoring that slapped their face with adversity. It was Leon Hall's Achilles injury that momentarily cut Cincinnati's sails. Rey Maualuga's hamstring, Devon Still's elbow, and Wallace Gilberry's knee, forcing all of them out of the game. Reggie Nelson, Michael Johnson and Marvin Jones also suffered injuries, thankfully returning at some point during their respective exits. It was Jermaine Gresham's multiple penalties that ended possessions, one that resulted in a missed Mike Nugent field goal.
Everything that happened reverts back to the old, "these are not the games that the old Bengals would have won." Like they did against the Bills, the Bengals slapped all of today's adversity back with the vengeance of a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick.