Sports Today: Where did it go wrong with Bengals, Marvin Lewis?

The Cincinnati Bengals limped into Minnesota yesterday and absorbed pretty much exactly the type of beating that was to be expected.

My main takeaway from this entirely forgettable game: Andy Dalton stunk again.

He set the tone for another blowout with a terrible pick-6 that was vintage Rookie Dalton (or perhaps worse) and ended up with a QB rating of 27.3.

RELATED: Bengals crushed by Vikings

In 14 games this season, he’s been pretty good in seven (if games against the Browns count) and below average or a lot worse in the other seven.

I don’t care about what type of support he is getting — there is no excuse for a veteran player being that inconsistent.

Anyway, of course the bigger news revolved around Marvin Lewis.

One way or another, it's inconceivable he'll be back as the Bengals coach in 2018.

RELATED: Lewis denies report he has decided not to return

I can’t imagine either side wanting this to continue.

Unless Mike Brown suddenly decided he hates selling tickets, he isn’t very likely to want Lewis back even if Lewis wants to return…

Jack Brennan, a former Bengals beat writer who more recently was the team's PR director until retiring last year, has an interesting take on the Lewis situation.

He goes back farther than I expected to pinpoint the time it all starting going wrong for Lewis and the Bengals: A playoff loss to the Jets in January 2010.

I find that choice a little odd considering they ended up building a better overall team a few years later, but it is interesting insight from a true insider who confirms Lewis wasn’t tough enough on some key players.

PHOTOS: The Marvin Lewis era in Cincinnati

I don’t doubt that winning that playoff game against an underwhelming Jets team would have changed some perceptions going forward. That might have helped them avoid so many disappointing performances later, but to me the biggest failure was the 2013 home playoff loss to the Chargers.

That was a total team loss, and with a better all-around team than the outfit playing with Carson Palmer, Dalton shrank to the occasion (three turnovers) in his first chance on a big stage at home.

Turns out that’s who he is, I guess, but I admit that’s hindsight.

Making a change then would have seemed pretty reactionary, but maybe it would have been the right move.

At any rate, there’s no doubt about what needs to happen now.

Once the Bengals and Browns got done stinking up the early window of games, the Patriots and Steelers put on a great show of football for the late-afternoon crowd. 

Then the NFL ruined it by applying it’s terrible catch rules again.

I figured out as the game was coming down to the wire I still dislike the Steelers more than the Patriots, but Pittsburgh clearly got a raw deal here. Not because the call was wrong —it was, by rule, correct — but because the rule is terrible.

Like many things in Roger Goodell’s NFL, the catch rule is idiotic, unnecessary and has no upside.

Former NFL official Mike Pereira has explained the catch rule was made overly complicated because they wanted to avoid too many fumbles immediately after catches, which is truly mystifying.

I guess I missed the great fumbles crisis gripping the league before the rules began being screwed with.

However many people a few more fumbles might bother, it’s certainly dwarfed by the number who feel their fan experienced is marred by seeing plays like that one in Pittsburgh overturned when any degree of common sense indicates that should have counted.

Before the Lewis reports consumed Sunday, the weekend went pretty well for just about any college basketball team anyone in Southwest Ohio might care about. 

Dayton, Wright State, Miami, Ohio State, Xavier and Cincinnati all won.

For the Flyers, beating Georgia State 88-83 was not only key to keep the season from feeling like it might go off the rails but also because it had a lot of positive indicators.

Veterans Josh Cunningham and Darrell Davis led the way, combining for 51 points, while point guard John Crosby added 11 points and seven assists without a turnover.

That’s a pretty good baseline to start any Dayton game this season, and it sets the stage for one or more of the youngsters to provide the spark to get the Flyers over the top.

Saturday, that was Jordan Davis and Trey Landers.

Freshman Davis tallied 12 points while sophomore Landers added 10.

As expected, new coach Anthony Grant has a lot to work with, and watching how it fits together from night to night is pretty interesting.

Georgia State coach Ron Hunter said that was the best game Dayton has played this season, and I don’t think that was coach-speak.

RELATED: 5 takeaways from Dayton's win

Next up is a big test: At St. Mary’s, the No. 39 team on KenPom as this week begins.

Dayton is No. 124.

Wright State won its third in a row, this one a 77-69 at Toledo.

Justin Mitchell led four Raiders in double figures, and WSU held the Rockets to 40.6-percent shooting from the floor (26 for 44).

The Raiders are one of three Horizon League teams with seven wins so far, joining Milwaukee and Northern Kentucky.

Then there is Ohio State.

Chris Holtmann’s crew is 48th in KenPom and an NCAA tournament bid seems realistic again after four straight wins.

They will probably get crushed by North Carolina on Saturday, but they can go back into Big Ten play with 11 wins if they beat The Citadel and Miami University in games that sandwich the showdown with the defending national champion-Tar Heels.

The RedHawks are 7-4 under first-year coach Jack Owens, a former Purdue assistant.

They blew out NAIA Division II Rio Grand on Sunday.

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