The Cincinnati Bengals are done being counted out.
Following Sunday's 27-10 shellacking of the second-seeded Buffalo Bills in a snowy Western New York, Bengals players released pent-up frustration after being doubted all week -- and all season.
"They keep talking us down, and we'll keep showing up," wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "The disrespect they gave us, we don't care how they treated us and how they're going to do us. We had the hardest schedule all year. Nothing is going to be easy for us. We know what we're capable of, and that's why we came out here not making a fuss with anybody and just putting on a show for the world to see."
The best team on the field Sunday was clear from the jump. Cincinnati scored touchdowns on each of its first two drives while the defense forced Josh Allen and the Bills into two three-and-outs.
The Bengals looked comfortable in the snowy conditions, getting anything they wanted. The offense churned out 412 yards and 30 first downs. The defense held the Allen-Stefon Diggs connection in check, giving up 10 measly points.
"We came out here on their home field and they put up 10 f------ points," defensive tackle D.J. Reader said. "We got 27. We're going to K.C. That's all that matters. Count us out, (say), 'Bengals ain't this, Bengals ain't that.' We just keep showing up on Sundays."
With a banged-up offensive line, many didn't give Cincinnati a shot to beat the high-powered Bills. But the Bengals blockers played soundly, Joe Burrow got rid of the ball, Cincy's wideouts tortured DBs, and the ground game continued to play efficiently. Meanwhile, the Bengals' defensive front dominated the Bills' offensive line, wrecking the Buffalo game plan.
"We just outplayed them," wide receiver Tyler Boyd said matter-of-factly. "We're that special team here."
The Bengals started slow in 2022, opening 0-2 and 2-3 by mid-October. But Zac Taylor's team hasn't lost since a ghastly Halloween defeat in Cleveland. The Bengals take a 10-game win streak into the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"I'm done harping on (respect), I don't care if they respect us or not," Reader said. "We got a bunch of guys that care and play football hard. (Forget about) them. I don't care. I'm done caring about it. Wherever they got the line, however they feel week-to-week, we're just going to play football. It's not even worth addressing anymore."
Heading to K.C. to face Patrick Mahomes and a Chiefs club playing its fifth straight home AFC Championship Game, we're betting the Bengals won't be done playing the disrespected card just yet.