Bengals lose control of their own destinyWritten by Zach Davis | | email@example.com
CINCINNATI– Going into the Dec. 11 matchup with Houston, the Bengals held the final spot in the AFC Playoff chase.
Now they’re on the outside looking in.
Ohio’s lone playoff contender blew a nine point, fourth quarter advantage and the Texans scored with two seconds remaining as the Bengals lost control of their own destiny at Paul Brown Stadium.
“That’s a hard way to lose a football game,” Cincinnati Head Coach Marvin Lewis said. “There was a lot of effort and a lot of good plays. We overcame some obstacles but when you allow teams to go 80 yards at the end of the football game and win while not getting off the field on critical third down situations, that hurts at the end.”
The Texans (10-3) benefited from a pass interference penalty with just 12 minutes remaining in the game from cornerback Adam Jones which moved them to 17 yards closer to the six-yard line. Houston quarterback T.J. Yates completed the next play to receiver Kevin Walter for a wide-open score and kicker Neil Rackers drilled the extra point to seal the 20-19 victory.
“It sucks to look at that scoreboard and see we lost by that one point when we had the game in our hands,” Cincinnati linebacker Rey Maualuga said. “We just have to come in tomorrow, watch the film and prepare for our next game.”
“We had some mistakes and we have to [correct],” Lewis said. “We were taking points off the board in that situation and we weren’t following it up scoring touchdowns.”
The Bengals (7-6) entered the game tied for the final playoff slot with Tennessee, Oakland and the New York Jets. While Tennessee also lost, the Jets trounced Kansas City to take over the final slot. The Raiders were blown out 46-16 against undefeated Green Bay.
“You have to look ahead,” Bengals linebacker Manny Lawson said. “Anything can happen. We we were up there but there are other teams in the hunt and they have several games to play like [us]. We are still in it. We just need to maintain the winning.”
Among the Bengals hoping to make the playoffs for the first times in their career are former Toledo athletes Bruce Gradkowski and Andrew Hawkins. Gradkowski is the backup for first-year starter and first round pick Andy Dalton, while Hawkins is in the receiver rotation and had one catch for 22 yards and a four-yard rush against the Texans.
“It sucks,” Hawkins said. “I can’t even describe the feeling. It sucks for everybody. It sucks for the players, coaches and fans. It’s just a tough way to lose.”
The Bengals travel to St. Louis (2-12) next week before returning home against Arizona (5-7) and Baltimore (10-3).