Tag Archives: NFL Playoffs

Bengals Beat Themselves

 

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Martavis Bryant scoring style points with this touchdown catch.

Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

Continuing their postseason trend, the Cincinnati Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs after the Wild Card Round, falling 18-16 to their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is now the fifth year in a row Marvin Lewis’ Bengals have been one and done in the playoffs.

Despite nothing exciting really happening for two and a half quarters, the game delivered its fair share of narrative changes, drama, and boneheaded miscues that befit a primetime wild card game, especially one featuring division rivals with lots of bad blood between them.

For most of the evening, it looked as if the Bengals were headed towards their next quick exit from the playoffs. Sans their MVP-caliber quarterback, the Bengals offense failed to effectively move the ball down the field and was shut out for three quarters. However, after a well-timed pass interference penalty, some good runs, and a fantastic AJ Green catch, the Bengals established a lead over the Steelers by one point with less than two minutes left.

With their own starting quarterback being held to the sideline after being checked out for a shoulder injury, the Steelers also had to rely on their own backup, Landry Jones, to win the game.

He responded by throwing an interception.

The win was all but wrapped up for the Bengals. They had the ball with only a minute and a half to go, they were in Steelers territory and easily could build upon their lead with a touchdown or even a field goal.

That’s when the boneheadedness began (yes, it even deserves a made up word to describe it).

The Bengals fumble the ball right back to the Steelers, giving them one last sliver of hope. Perfectly encapsulating the “if you want something down, do it yourself” mentality, the Steelers starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger came back into the game to try and lead his offense to the game winning field goal.

With seconds left on the play clock and twenty yards to go to get to field goal range, Roethlisberger delivered a strike to Antonio Brown which fell incomplete; but, the Bengals were flagged for unnecessary roughness and fifteen yards were gifted to the Steelers. To cap off the utter meltdown, a scrum ensued after the play which led to another penalty on the Bengals. The Steelers kicker converted the kick and the Steelers won the game, capping off one of the ugliest meltdowns in playoff history.

Giving the ball away and committing unnecessary penalties doomed the Bengals. They were in prime position to pull it off and change a four year narrative, but for some reason couldn’t find it in them to deliver. The headlines will read that the Steelers beat the Bengals, but it feels more like the Bengals beat themselves.
Now the Steelers will go on to face the Denver Broncos next Sunday the 17th, while the Kansas City Chiefs, winners of their game earlier in the day, will go on to face the New England Patriots on Saturday the 16th.

On a separate note, Steelers wide receiver, Martavis Bryant, treated us with possibly the catch of the season, catching a pass with both his hands, then corralling it with one hand and the back of his leg, then getting both feet down for a touchdown… and then finishing it off with a front flip to hold onto the ball. The play was a great show of athleticism and is truly a “you gotta see it to believe it” catch.

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Chiefs snap playoff winless streak

In what was certainly the least exciting of the 2 AFC Wild Card Playoff Games of the 2015-2016 postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs shut out the Houston Texans 30-0.

Houston is the first team to get shut out in the playoffs since 2005.

Kansas City earns their first postseason win since Joe Montana was the quarterback way back in 1994. They had lost 8 straight in the playoffs until their win Saturday.

Everything came up the Chiefs’ way from the opening kickoff when Knile Davis went 106 yards to the house for a 7-0 lead. From there, KC’s vaunted defense took over the game. Brian Hoyer turned the ball over 5 times, with 4 interceptions and a fumble lost, and was sacked 3 times. He ended the game with a 1.7 passer QBR out of a possible 100.

2014 NFL Pro Bowl
Alex Smith continued his stellar postseason play (10 TD, 1 INT in 4 games) as the Chiefs earn their first postseason win in over 2 decades.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg)

Kansas City’s offense was far from perfect but it was certainly more than enough. Alex Smith threw for just 190 yards but added a touchdown strike to rookie Chris Conley, while Spencer Ware added 67 yards and touchdown on the ground. Much of the damage came in the second half with both offensive touchdowns coming in the second half hour of the game.

One major loss for the Chiefs in a day when all else had gone nearly perfectly was a knee injury to Jeremy Maclin. Maclin was promptly ruled out for the remainder of the game and will have MRIs as early as Sunday. The team fears that Maclin suffered a significant ACL injury in his right knee, the same knee which he had injured twice previously. In Maclin’s absence, tight end Travis Kelce had himself a day racking up 128 yards on 8 catches.

On Houston’s side of the ball, J.J. Watt was made into a non-factor by Kansas City’s scheme and then left the game in the third quarter with a groin injury and did not return. He also got his first career rushing attempt out of the Wildcat formation deep in KC territory and lost one yard. Hoyer was intercepted the following play. Alfred Blue rushed for 99 yards in the loss, though 49 came on one play, and DeAndre Hopkins had more receiving yards (69) than the rest of his teammates (67). Whitney Mercilus had all 3 of the Texans’ sacks on the day.

Kansas City will head to New England to play the Patriots to put their 11 game winning streak on the line against Tom Brady and company.