From 0-2 to the Super Bowl? The Bengals and Titans are looking to join these teams that have made big plays after rough starts

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burrow From 0-2 to the Super Bowl? The Bengals and Titans are looking to join these teams that have made big plays after rough starts

Joe Burrow and the rest of the AFC champions certainly expect better. Fresh off the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance in 30 years, the Bengals’ conference title defense is off to a tumultuous start. Cincinnati is 0-2 after dropping a pair of three-point games to Pittsburgh and Dallas.

The Bengals’ offensive woes may be even greater than Cincinnati’s winless start. Burrow, who was sacked 70 times a year ago, has already been sacked 13 times this season. Despite the problems, Burrow and his team members remain steadfast in their resolve.

“Oh and two is tough, but no panic,” Burrow said. By athletics“There are a lot of balls to play with.”

“We’re just hustling for a win right now,” running back Joe Mixon said. “There’s no need to panic, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get going. We know what we’ve got in our locker room. Our defense is kicking their ass. We’ve got to do what we can for the offense. Face what’s going on. It’s an unfortunate situation, But we have to be the ones to dig ourselves out.”

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The Titans, one of the teams the Bengals beat in last year’s playoff run, are 0-2 after being soundly beaten in Buffalo on Monday night. The Titans and Bengals are the most surprising of the five teams currently 0-2 entering the third week of the regular season.

It’s not a well-traveled road, but teams that started 0-2 have actually made it to the Super Bowl. Four teams have overcome 0-2 starts to reach the big game. Three of those teams walked away from the Super Bowl holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy, proving that it’s not always how you start, but how you finish that makes all the difference.

Here’s a look at the four teams that will try to make it into the history books when all is said and done: the Bengals and the Titans.

  • 12-4, 1st place in NFC East
  • Defeated the Bills 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII

Main cause of delay Start: Emmitt Smith, the league’s leading rusher last season, missed the first two games due to a contract dispute. Without Smith, the defending champion Cowboys were swept by Washington in Week 1. A three-point loss in a Super Bowl rematch with Buffalo was enough to convince Jerry Jones to get Smith to the bargaining table and back on the field.

The main reason for quick completion is: With Smith’s return, the Cowboys won six straight games, with Smith rushing for 237 yards against the Eagles. Smith capped off his MVP season in the Cowboys’ regular-season finale against the Giants. Despite dealing with a separated shoulder, Smith ran for 168 yards and caught 10 passes for 61 yards and Dallas won in overtime.

In the playoffs, Smith had 418 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. He won MVP honors after rushing for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ second consecutive Super Bowl victory over Buffalo.

  • 11-5, 1st place in AFC East
  • Lost to the Packers 35-21 in Super Bowl XXXI

Main reason for slow start: Turnovers have plagued the Patriots in their first two games. In a Week 1 loss to Miami, they coughed up the ball four times — one of which led to the game’s first touchdown. They took an early lead the following week in Buffalo before special teams fumbled to set up the Bills’ go-ahead score. New England later tied the score before Jim Kelly threw the game-winning touchdown in the final minutes.

The main reason for quick completion is: They never fully solved their turnover problem, but for most of the season the Patriots were able to overcome their mistakes the rest of the season. New England’s defense was heavily influenced by assistant head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots offense committed 21 turnovers in the final 14 games of the season. New England’s defense, led by Pro Bowler Willie McGinest, linebackers Chris Slade and Ted Johnson and defensive backs Ty Law, Vakil Milloy and Willie Clay, forced 36 turnovers (including the postseason) after an 0–2 start.

Defensively, the Patriots got big individual efforts from quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Curtis Martin and rookie receiver Terry Glenn. Each player was named to the Pro Bowl while leading an offense that finished second in the league in scoring.

However, turnovers reared their ugly head in Super Bowl XXXI. The Patriots briefly led the favored Packers, but were eventually held by four giveaways. In the loss, New England’s defending league MVP Brett Favre and the Packers didn’t allow a single point in the second half as the Packers scored high.

2001 Patriots

  • 11-5, 1st place in AFC East
  • Defeated the Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI

Main reason for slow start: New England scored just 20 points in its first two games. The Pats put up just three points against the Jets in Week 2 before Jets linebacker Mo Lewis pushed Bledsoe out of bounds late in the game. Bledsoe was hospitalized for treatment of a severed blood vessel in his chest, and the injury was serious.

The main reason for quick completion is: Along with Bledsoe, Tom Brady entered the lineup for Peyton Manning and the Patriots’ third game of the year against the Colts. New England dominated the game in all three aspects and took their record to 5-4 entering Sunday night’s showdown with the Rams and their “Greatest Show on Turf” offense. The Patriots lost a tightly contested game, but it was enough for Belichick to declare Brady the starter for the rest of the season.

The 2001 Patriots went undefeated again, winning the final six games of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth. They were the beneficiaries of the famous “Duck Rule” in the divisional round before upsetting the Steelers in the AFC title game. They built a 17–3 lead against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI before winning the game on a last-second field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

2007 Giants

  • 10-6, 2nd in NFC East
  • Defeated the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII

Main reason for slow start: The Giants defense allowed 80 points in the first two games of the season. Tony Romo torched New York for 345 yards and four scores in Week 1. Brett Favre threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns in Week 2 as the Giants’ season ended before Week 3.

The main reason for quick completion is: Led by a defensive line that featured Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, the Giants defense played much better after its rocky start. The Giants allowed fewer than 20 points in five of their next six games to go 6-2 at the midway point.

At 10-5 when the 15-0 Patriots came to town in Week 17, the Giants had already clinched a playoff spot. With nothing to play for, the Giants played their starters and nearly ended the Patriots’ perfect season. They didn’t win that night, but five weeks later, on pro football’s biggest stage, the Giants defeated the Patriots in the second-biggest upset in Super Bowl history. Eli Manning’s late-game heroics will continue in Super Bowl lore.

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