Just before Week 15, Marvin Lewis was gone. After 15 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, it was reported that Lewis was planning to leave the team at the end of the season. Three games later, Lewis was back. He signed a two-year deal to return as the Bengals’ coach.
How the heck did that happen?
Until now, it was only speculation. But Bengals owner Mike Brown put all of that to rest in an interview with Cincinnati.com. Brown revealed it was the team’s strong finish that propelled him to bring Lewis back again.
“I would say that while we had serious reverses and they were unsettling, to put it mildly, we bounced back at the end of the year. We beat two teams that were in playoff runs. We beat them in games that were important for them where they gave their best shot and I was impressed how we rebounded. That played into what was in my mind when I had to make a final call.”
Two games. That’s it. The Bengals’ Week 16 win over the Lions and their Week 17 win over the Ravens played a huge factor in Lewis coming back.
Brown is asked why those two games were more important than the club’s three-game losing streaks during the season. He said some of those losses came down to just one play, and the team could have been better had the ball bounced their way in those instances.
Later in the piece, though, he gives more insight into why the final two wins mattered.
“I don’t think he lost the football team. I think that was evidenced by the last couple games. The players like Marvin. They support him. I think that’s a good thing.”
The Bengals were 7-9 in 2017. It was the second straight year in which the team finished under .500. In Lewis’ 15 years with the team, he has a .527 winning percentage.
Lewis has led Cincinnati to the playoffs seven times, but is 0-7 in the postseason. He’ll get another opportunity to finally win his first postseason game in 2018.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik