Dec 15, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Sunday Night Football ended, and the door slammed shut in the noses of the Cincinnati Bengals trying to secure the 2nd seed in the AFC playoff picture. The Bengals lost 30-20 in a rumbling, bumbling game that everyone, especially punter Kevin Huber, would love to forget.
The tone of this game was set early, when Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was tackled by Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. On this play, Kirkpatrick helped Bell off of the ground and patted him on the helmet as if to say, good play, and Bell responded by shoving Kirkpatrick back as if to say, ‘get off me man!’
Losing punter Kevin Huber for the season is significant, but losing in the last three weeks of the season has even more significance.
Going back to the year 2000, all but 3 Super Bowl champions lost a game they “should’ve won” in the last three weeks of the season. Seven of those teams lost during week 15, just like the Bengals. This may not mean much in the great scheme of things, but it certainly doesn’t mean the season is over.
Finishing 3-5 on the road this season isn’t exactly what the Bengals had in mind this season, but finishing 8-0 at home could go a long way in hosting a first round bye in the playoffs. With so many playoff scenarios in favor of the Bengals, the Bengals have a 93% chance of making the playoffs this season.
The Bengals play at 1pm this Sunday, hosting the 4-8-1 Minnesota Vikings who seem to be putting it together here late. However, the Bengals play much better at home and should improve to 10-5.