Will revenge be a factor in Battle of Ohio rematch?
By Marc Hardin
FOXSports Ohio | Bengals Insider
Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
Expect a very hard-hitting game on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium when the Bengals host the Browns in the 75th staging of the Battle of Ohio.
This is a chance for the bullied to bully the bullies when the Bengals attempt to exact revenge against a Browns team that beat Cincinnati 23-20 in Cleveland on Oct. 3.
The Browns knocked rookie receiver Jordan Shipley out of the game with a concussion on a hit by T.J. Ward that drew a $15,000 fine, and they put the Bengals in their current tailspin, which has resulted in a single-season, franchise-record-tying 10-game losing streak.
Could retribution be on the minds of the Bengals this Sunday? If it is, players aren't saying.
"We've moved on," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "We want to win because it's a rivalry game, because it's a home game and because they're the team that started this whole slide. We went into that game as a confident team, and they knocked us back a step. But our main incentive is it's a rivalry game, the in-state battle."
With a victory Sunday, the Bengals can get their revenge against the Browns and they can snap their excruciatingly long losing streak, which transformed playoff hopes into dashed dreams.
Shipley, who leads AFC rookie receivers with 569 yards and is tied for the conference rookie lead with 47 receptions, said he harbors no ill will toward Ward, whose second-half hit on Shipley in the first meeting drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty, knocked Shipley out of the next game against Tampa Bay and was used on a video that was distributed weeks later in which the league informed players of helmet-to-helmet hits that would draw heavier fines or suspensions.
"I understand that it's football," Shipley said. "I understand that it's a tough thing for a defensive player. Our guys, I see it from their point of view, too. They feel like sometimes they have to be super careful. It's a very short window of time that they have to decide what they're going to do. Those kinds of things happen, and all you can do is learn from them and move on."
Despite Sunday's billing as Battle of Ohio II, it will be the first time in the series that the game has not been sold out at Paul Brown Stadium, which opened in 2000. The Bengals will have three straight non-sellouts after Sunday, following a franchise-record 57-game sellout streak.
SERIES UPDATE: The Bengals lead the series 38-36 and are 23-14 as the home team. Cincinnati leads 10-5 in games during the Marvin Lewis Era, including 5-2 at home. With 74 meetings, the Browns are the second-most-frequently played Cincinnati opponent, and the Bengals are Cleveland