The Bengals aren't buying that this is the end of King Bill I and Crown Prince Brady as the Patriots dynasty dissolves into the ashes of their offensive line or any of the other emerging narratives.
As they prepped for Sunday Night Football's matchup (8:30-Cincinnat's Channel 5) in New England, the Bengals weren't altogether moved by the Pats' 41-14 loss in Kansas City Monday night.
"You know they're going to play better than they played last week," said cornerback Adam Jones. "Bill Belichick he's a great coach so I'm quite sure they're not going to play the way they played last week and being who we are we're going to get everyone's best shot right now. We just have to go in and play Bengals football and not try to play out of character and we'll be all right."
Or, for that matter, they weren't going to get hypnotized by Belichick's comments on Wednesday that called them better than last year and the most complete team he's seen in a while.
"I'd prefer for them to have won last week,' said defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry before Wednesday's practice. "To be honest. Because you know they're going to come back out re-loaded and hungry. We're definitely hungry, too. It's like two hungry lions trying to eat. It's going to be a fight."
Especially in the den in Foxboro, where the Pats have built the NFL's best home record (.850) in the last ten seasons. Line mate Domata Peko sounds like he knows the Patriots have lost at least two straight games just ten times in Belichick's 15 seasons as head coach.
"I know after Monday night they're all going to be ready to go Sunday," Peko said. "Belichick doesn't like losing one. I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to lose two in a row. I know they'll be on their horses; they'll be ready to go. We just have to worry about us. We'll be ready for them."
They were ready last year when they broke Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady's streak of 52 straight games with a touchdown pass when they held them to two field goals in a 13-6 victory at Paul Brown Stadium.
"I felt they were pretty well in control of the game all of the way," Belichick said in Wednesday's conference call with the Cincinnati media. "We didn't really do much, and so we have to prepare for all of the good things that Cincinnati does. We've got to play better than we did last year to win because I think they're a lot better than they were."
Then to his own media he expounded, "It's been a while since I've seen a team that's as complete as they are – even going back the past (years), they've been a playoff team here, but the way they started the season this year. Watching them through training camp, they're really a good football team. Strong in all areas of the game."
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth has heard it all before. The only one here who came closer to playing for Belichick is former Patriots and Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis since Whitworth played for former Belichick staffer Nick Saban at LSU.
"A lot of that stuff I've heard before. I understand their mentality," Whitworth said of the Belichick transcripts coming out of New England. "I know Bill in the sense from being around Nick and the admiration he had for him. He's preparing his team to try and beat us in every phase of the game."
Whitworth looks at what happened to the Pats Monday and he says that's how you have to beat them.
"He's a heck of a coach. They never beat themselves," Whitworth said. "Look at the game the other night. They're on the road in a tough place where it's going to be hard to score points anyway against a good defense. And defensively, they try to make you drive the field. They're always in the right place at the right time. Kansas City had a ton of yards after catch and after contact. That's how you beat teams that are going to be in the right spot. They let you catch the five-yard pass, but that's it. If we can't break tackles or make yards after contact, get 15 after getting five, we'll have a tough time."
The Bengals have noticed there's a lot of buzz around the Patriots with all this the witch is dead stuff and they're just shrugging.
"Everybody is talking about New England, New England," Peko said. "But over here in this room, it's all about us. We're just going to focus on what we have to do and that's hitting Tom Brady, stopping the run and getting after it."
ROLL CALL: The Bengals began the heavy preparations for Sunday night's game against the Patriots (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 5) without Pro Bowl WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict and wide receiver Marvin Jones at Wednesday's late afternoon practice at Paul Brown Stadium.
It's believed that Jones tweaked his ankle when he returned to work in Monday's practice, so it's not related to the broken foot that has taken him out of action since Aug. 9.
Burfict hasn't practiced since he suffered his second concussion in as many weeks in the Sept. 14 victory over the Falcons. There have been days he's been on the practice field with his mates and he was Wednesday, indicating some progress in the NFL concussion protocol.
Both absences were a bit of a surprise. Jones looked to be progressing nicely and they had earmarked him to return in Foxboro until the ankle injury. And on Monday head coach Marvin Lewis said he expected Burfict to return to practice this week.
Jones didn't look like he was limping when he went on the field in sweats early in practice.
Also continuing to sit out were right guard Kevin Zeitler (calf) and defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (knee), but Zeitler has begun to work on the side. Also out was defensive end Margus Hunt (shoulder), who did stretching.
Right guard Mike Pollak (knee) and defensive lineman Robert Geathers (toe) each looked to be the beneficiary of a veteran's day off.
Safety George Iloka (abdomen) went limited while three players were back at full: starting SAM linebacker Emmanuel Lamur (concussion), backup running back Rex Burkhead (knee), and backup linebacker Sean Porter (hamstring).