The Cincinnati Bengals suffered a gut-wrenching overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers after storming back to tie the game late in Week 5, only to watch rookie kicker Evan McPherson miss a couple of field goals late.
In a game viewed as a measuring stick for the Bengals entering the contest, the comeback showed they have playmakers on offense to keep pace with the best.
"It was a resilient group that showed through the effort, especially in overtime," coach Zac Taylor told the team's official website. "They played to that final down. Things just didn't go our way. That's life in the NFL some times. There are plenty of things we have to correct. There are some different mistakes we have not made previously that we made and there are some things to clean up.
"But the good news is the resiliency really showed through and that we're going to be a team that's going to be reckoned with, and we're going to be in position to win a lot of games against really good teams like that."
Taylor's 3-2 squad now has a different sort of test on the horizon. They travel to Detroit to face the winless Lions on Sunday. Good teams bury the bad ones, even on the road, but the Lions have been feisty, losing on last-second field goals two of the past three weeks.
Taylor knows his team can't come out flat on the road in a game they should win.
"I've got a lot of respect for the Detroit Lions," he said. "They've been in about every game they've played. A lot of them have come down to the last second against really good teams. I know what this team is made of. They've got our respect. They've got our attention. They're going to win games this year. We just can't let it start on Sunday."
The next four games will tell a lot about the 2021 Bengals. Road games versus the woeful Lions and Jets are sandwiched around division bouts against the Ravens (road) and Browns (home). If Cincy is to have a shot at pushing its way into an increasingly tight AFC playoff race, it likely needs to go 3-1 in that stretch. Most importantly, the Bengals can't stub their toe against the two bad teams.
"We're a good team. We're a resilient team," Taylor said. "We're a physical team and we're going to be a relentless team. I feel like we've got that relentlessness on defense. We've got the performers on special teams and we've got the guys that can create enough on offense where we feel really good going into every game that we have an opportunity to win."
Now Taylor's squad needs to turn those opportunities into actual wins.