Sunday, September 19, 1999

Bengals must set precedent with home victory


Cinergy record has been woeful

BY GEOFF HOBSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For the Bengals last season, home was not so sweet.

        It was bitter. While foes outscored the Bengals by 89 points and won all but once in eight games at Cinergy Field, fans questioned if home was where the heart was.

        The Bengals hope to break new ground in today's 1p.m. home opener after last Sun day's encouraging 36-35 loss in the last eight seconds in Tennessee. But the San Diego Chargers' defense, No.1 in the league last year, is digging in for their regular-season opener after getting a bye last week under new head coach Mike Riley.

        Cincinnati hasn't won a home game since the last-minute 25-20 victory over the Steelers Oct.11. But what has brought out the “Mike Brown Must Step Down” signs is that the Bengals haven't even been close at home. Count this year's two exhibition games, and they've been outscored 269-140 in their last 10 home games.

        “We need to play well enough to win,” said Brown, the Bengals' president.

        “We can't keep playing like that at home, where it's not even a game. It seems to be different this year, but we have to show it on the field.”

        Right tackle Willie Anderson isn't about to blame the fans for not selling out Sunday's game in time to lift the local television blackout.

        “We've got to come out and get that feeling of winning and winning at home,” Anderson said.

        “The objective of every good team is to try and win all your home games. If we can win the home games, it would be a huge lift for us.”

        Cornerback Artrell Hawkins knows a home victory is “long overdue.”

        “It's important to keep a strong fan base. Winning would give us more support,' Hawkins said. “And just for the fans' sake. They want to see winners.”

       



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