NFL news of September 25, 2002

If I were a Bengals fan—which no one in their right mind would be—I’d want to know why Drew Bledsoe is in Buffalo, rather than Cincinnati.

The Bungles haven’t made the playoffs since 1990, which also happened to be the last year they finished over .500. From 1991 to the present, the Bengals have compiled an abysmal record of 53-126, failing to win as many as five games in six of the last 11 seasons.

Cincinnati has scored just one touchdown this season, being outscored by a combined 84-11 in losses to San Diego, Cleveland and Atlanta.

Looking very much like a team that could go 0-16—yes, they do get to play the Texans, but the game’s in Houston—the Bengals started this season with Gus Frerotte at quarterback, then brought Jon Kitna off the bench Sunday night in Atlanta.

This week, they’re going to give another shot to Akili Smith, who started 11 games in 2000, but has been a huge disappointment since Cincinnati took him with the third pick overall in the 1999 draft.

The Bengals were interested in Bledsoe, but never got around to offering the first-round pick the Patriots were looking for. Word also was that Bledsoe asked not to be traded to Cincinnati.

Gee, can’t imagine why.

Bledsoe is happy to be in Buffalo, although obviously disappointed that the Bills have lost two of their first three games.

He set a club record for passing yardage in only his second game, throwing for 463 in an overtime win at Minnesota. He leads the NFL in passing yardage and, despite heavy pressure, has thrown 6 TD passes and just 2 interceptions.

“Getting another chance to get back out there and compete, I appreciate it a lot more,” he said.

And the Bills appreciate him.

“With Drew,” said wide receiver Peerless Price, who caught the game-winning pass against the Vikings, “we could be down 40-0 and still believe we could win.”

— Jim Donaldson, The Providence Journal “Maybe lowly Vikings need a contraction threat.”

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