It was just as cold and far more bitter in Cincinnati, where Wyche had been in bad temper all week over what he considered insults from Glanville and a history of dirty play by the Oilers. So it wasn't a total surprise when the Bengals successfully executed an onside kick after they had built a 45-point lead, or when they trotted out Jim Breech to try a field goal with 21 seconds left. It was a textbook case of running up the score.
Glanville said he couldn't figure out what Wyche's game was, but Esiason said, "I've never been around a team that could bring out the hatred in you like Houston. On the second series, [defensive end] William Fuller absolutely cheap-shotted me. He took three steps after I released the ball and earholed me, waxed me to the ground. Then, bang—[Bengal tackle] Anthony Munoz smacks Fuller and yells, 'You ain't gonna hit our quarterback like that!' After that, we just wanted 'em."
Esiason later picked on Oiler cornerback Cris Dishman, a Bengal archenemy because of his belligerence. "Hey Dishman!" Esiason yelled after one completion. "If you were a bedspread, you couldn't cover a bed!"
Wyche gloated about "humiliating" the "sorry" Oilers and called Glanville "probably the biggest phony" in football. "It's the dumbest, most undisciplined, stupid football team I think we've ever played," said Wyche afterward. "You can only be so stupid, but the Oilers have exceeded the limits. They're a team with no discipline, and when you have no discipline you have no chance of winning."
Wow. When was the last time an NFL coach spilled his guts in public like that? The runaway will haunt them in future games against the Oilers, but it sure made great theater.
We can't leave the AFC Central without mentioning Pittsburgh and its 28-10 victory over the New England Patriots. Chuck Noll's Steelers are 8-5 since getting outscored 92-10 in their first two games. "Noll loses his first two games 300 to nothing, and he keeps an even keel, acts like nothing's wrong," says Accorsi. "He's got to be coach of the decade for that job."
Yes, even the Steelers are still alive. But amid all the confusion, Seattle's situation is the weirdest. A Seahawk win over the Washington Redskins, coupled with losses by the Bengals, Steelers, Raiders, Chiefs, Colts and Bills, would put Seattle in the playoffs. Got that? You're good at the Parity Game.