Week 7 in Cincinnati on Sunday has the makeup of a fascinatingly even battle as both the Jets and Bengals are treading in similar murky waters. Inconsistency — among other issues — has plagued each club and the results are one win each and two locker rooms feeling disappointment and frustration.
A little over one week ago, following the Jets' 35-24 defeat to the crosstown-rival Giants, Jets head coach Eric Mangini spoke on the issue.
"I see a team that does a lot of really good things punctuated by a handful of plays that aren't very good and sound," said Mangini "They can be really good early and not as good late, or really good late and not as good early. It needs to be the same. It needs to be complete football and it needs to be for four quarters."
"There is too much of one quarter of good football, one half of good football or one series of good football and then some kind of lapse. Having the Jekyll-and-Hyde approach that we've had is not going to give us the results we are looking for."
Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis echoed these feelings following his Bengals' fourth loss of the season Sunday, by 27-20 at Kansas City.
"What I told our team in there just now, I thought for the first time this football season we played like a team in the second half of this game," Lewis said in his postgame news conference. "And though we didn't come out and win this game today, I thought we made some progress and some signs of a team, not a bunch of individual guys."
These frustrating losses have inevitably hit home. Players on both sides are clearly unhappy and are looking to relinquish an abundance of aggravation this weekend at Paul Brown Stadium — in the Jets' first-ever game in the Bengals' seven-year-old home.
"That's just one of those things where you can only beat a guy so many times when he's down and right now we're down," Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said. "We all know what's going on here, we know. We're not good right now, that's the bottom line."
Houshmandzadeh leads the Bengals with 47 receptions, seven for touchdowns. Even though his numbers are stacking up, his confidence seems to be diminishing.
"When you get down, confidence is a big thing," he said. "Teams that are winning, when they get down, they're thinking, 'We'll come back and win.' Whenever we've gotten down, we've lost. Maybe doubt starts to creep in. Who knows? We have to suck it up, man up and just play."
Mangini, like the majority of his players, couldn't hold in his dissatisfaction, either.
"The locker room is disappointed," the Jets skipper said after the loss to the Eagles. "We know how much time we spend working on the game plan, on trying to execute the game plan and doing things the right way. Then to not get the results you are looking for, it makes you angry, it makes you frustrated."
Both starting quarterbacks also expressed thoughts for their teams' fan bases recently.
"I feel bad for our fans," Bengals QB Carson Palmer said. "They didn't expect us to be 1-4. They shouldn't be happy. We're not playing well enough for them or well enough for ourselves."
"I know the fans are frustrated. I'd be frustrated if I was a fan," Pennington said after the Giants loss. "It's frustrating. It makes you sick to your stomach, really."