Let's start this post off by pausing to remember the events that happened on this day 12 years ago. May we never have to endure another day like Sept. 11, 2001, in our lifetimes again ...
On the Cincinnati Bengals beat, we took a look Monday at one of the plays that many of you considered among the most pivotal in the Bengals' 24-21 Week 1 loss at Chicago. It was a key play that kicked off a key sequence, no doubt, but to pretend it was the only difference in whether the Bengals won or lost that game isn't right. Still, when he happened to walk through the locker room Monday afternoon when the space was open to reporters, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden paused and spoke for nearly 17 minutes to answer questions about the play that had the fan base buzzing.
You know the play. We discussed it Monday evening on ESPN NFL Nation's Bengals blog. On second-and-14, with 59 seconds left in the second quarter of a game they were leading 14-7, the Bengals decided to pass instead of trying to run the ball and keep the clock going.
You know what happened from there. An incomplete pass. A stopped clock. A run that's short of a first down. A punt. A personal-foul penalty. A three-and-out. A team-record 58-yard Bears field goal to make it 14-10. A Bengals loss by three.
In this edition of the Morning Stripes, we discuss that play for (hopefully) the last time:
On his "The Walkthrough" blog for the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bengals beat reporter Joe Reedy tackled Tuesday morning what he termed the "burning question" once more. As he wrote, there were two ways of thinking about the late-second-quarter possession. With the drive starting deep in Cincinnati territory, the Bengals could either run it three times and hope they get a good punt -- which is what head coach Marvin Lewis said he wanted to do, although he also insisted on picking up at least one first down -- or pass it once in the event they had a run that went for a big loss. Well, after BenJarvus Green-Ellis' 4-yard loss on the first play of the drive, Gruden decided to pass to increase his odds of getting Lewis' first down. The odds probably were in his favor. After all, quarterback Andy Dalton ended up completing 78 percent of his passes. He was in a nice enough rhythm that a completion was most likely to occur.
The guys at CincyJungle.com, an SBNation-affiliated fan site, are posing an interesting question at the end of each week. They will be asking Bengals fans to vote on their picks for the Unsung Hero of the Week Award. This week, they're asking fans to choose between tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, running back Giovani Bernard, safety Taylor Mays, cornerback Leon Hall and "other." Early Wednesday morning, Gresham was running away with the vote. Makes sense, too. Of his 35 yards receiving, 29 came after the catch as he ran hard to earn his three first downs. Who would you vote for?
Next, we head to Bengals.com, where Geoff Hobson has a nice read on cornerback Terence Newman and his efforts at increasing literacy in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. Newman recently had a benefit dinner downtown in which those in attendance paid to watch "Monday Night Football" with him and a few of his teammates. Funds raised at the benefit and auction went to Newman's "Whiz Kids," a group of about 1,200 at-risk school children at 63 sites between Middletown, Ohio, and Erlanger, Ky., which is just across the Ohio River.
Lastly, the Dayton Daily News' Jay Morrison writes about an addition to the Bengals' game-day experience at Paul Brown Stadium. For home games this season, the Bengals will have a 20-person drum line named "Growl." The band will perform at tailgates up to three hours before games, and will be used in the stadium at various points. It'll also sit in a special section of the stadium.
... Never forget.