Kevin Byard ate his vegetables, so to speak, even though he knew they’d taste awful.
“Enough to make you puke,” was Mike Vrabel’s review.
No need to dig deep into the memory banks for a suitably foreboding introduction of last season’s blustery, cold loss to the Cincinnati Bengals for the Tennessee Titans. Vrabel accomplished it in five words. Well done, coach.
Nonetheless, on Monday night, Byard braced himself and went back and studied the 31-20 defeat. He couldn’t say he enjoyed the experience, either.
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“It didn’t look like us,” Byard said. “We’re a totally different team.”
Linebacker Logan Wilson (55) of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Tennessee Titans for a sack in the third quarter of the game at Paul Brown Stadium on November 01, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Extra motivation shouldn’t be needed for anyone at this stage in the playoffs, but the Bengals (11-7) make an intriguing visitor for the AFC divisional playoff game at Nissan Stadium on Saturday (3:30 p.m., CBS) because of this previous meeting.
Whether or not they’ll admit it this week, the Titans who were on last season’s team have to feel as if they owe the Bengals. They were embarrassed in Cincinnati, and they haven’t been embarrassed much under Vrabel.
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Even this season, as we know, the Titans (12-5) have been prone to the odd inexplicable result.
But this was different.
There are games in which you’ll come out flat and fight and fall short. Then there are defeats in which you can’t stomach what you see in the mirror.
That 2020 loss to the Bengals (a four-win team last season,…