It was a long offseason; not because of an NFL-driven controversy or legal entanglements such as the narrative from a history becoming too distant to recall. It was a boring summer in Cincinnati. The Bengals were workmanlike in their profession, led by top-notch characters, driven toward perfection, all of whom could advance their station as the next generation of superstars. Sunday's game against the Raiders marked several important events:

Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones returned after being out last season.

Michael Johnson returned to the Bengals, starting at defensive end after spending the summer on the sidelines with a bum knee.

A.J. Green played his first regular season game since signing a four-year extension, fiscally placing him in the market with the league's best receivers.

Yet these narratives pale in comparison to the grand scheme of things. The Bengals, looking to make a postseason appearance for a fifth consecutive season, are entering 2015 with many of their starters playing their final year under contract. And within a more localized setting, Cincinnati had never won an NFL game in Oakland (0-10) and are 1-4 against the Raiders when the games were played in Los Angeles. By my second grade math, the Bengals entered Sunday's game with a combined 1-14 record against the Raiders in games played in Oakland and Los Angeles.

Cincinnati opened the season with a pinch of perfection, forcing the Raiders to go three and out and then responding with an 11-play touchdown drive, capped off by a beautiful Jeremy Hill touchdown on fourth and one from the Raiders' three-yard line.