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Bengals say good riddance to fair-weather fans

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The Bengals needed a convincing win over the Patriots this weekend to sway public perception in their favor.

But after a prime-time 43-17 loss, they're back in the same holding pattern in which a few Andy Dalton-led teams have found themselves over the last few seasons.

It seems like a touchy subject in the Bengals' locker room, especially now that a few players are sounding off about fair-weather fans who are leaping off the bandwagon at 3-1.

"They didn't come to the games when we were 3-0 so I don't know what I have to say to them," offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said, via Cincinnati.com. "That stuff's just garbage. I'm not worried about the fans or the media or any of that crap. We need to go play well and win. The same people thought Tom Brady should quit football and retire from the NFL a week ago, so I bet they don't think that now.

"Every week you have to show up and play your best, and if you don't, you're going to get beat, and that's NFL football, and that's why even the best team in the league and the worst team in the league, there's not as much difference as people would like to think."

Safety George Iloka seemed just as eager to shed the franchise of fans who weren't ready to stick with the team through a loss.

"Let 'em jump off," said Iloka. "I mean we start winning, they can jump back on or not. I'm not worried about the people who jump off. We don't want them as fans anyway, so we just look to the Patriots, how they came out and lost on Monday night in prime time, all their fair-weather fans jumped off the bandwagon and they're probably back on after they beat us. So we look to them and see how they came out and we hope to do the same things on Sunday and beat the Panthers."

It's hard to imagine what a win on Sunday would have meant for the Bengals, leaving them as the sole undefeated team in football. Now, they'll have to do some work on Sunday against a tough Panthers team to get some of those fans back.

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