My tendency during games is to listen to the Bengals Radio Network while watching the game on television. Despite his groans, grunts and enthusiastic reactions to great plays, Dave Lapham is the best analyst for Bengals fans, pointing out conclusions using information that you should already know. While the television broadcast may praise Andy Dalton on an improvised rollout that generated a 52-yard reception to Jermaine Gresham, Lapham will point out the great blocking by A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins.
That being said, I didn't hear Andy Dalton shouting at head official Scott Green on Sunday. After Jeff Faine was called for an offensive hold, negating a 19-yard A.J. Green reception that converted a third and 15 during the fourth quarter, Dalton was heard yelling "You're givin' 'em the game!" during Scott Green's announcement.
Love the fire, Andy. But let's be honest; it wasn't the officials giving away the game.
Down by only four points, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden opened the fourth quarter possession, with over 11 minutes remaining, calling BenJarvus Green-Ellis on three consecutive runs. The combined 11 yards on three carries generated a first down, reaching Cincinnati's 38-yard line.
Then it collapsed. The possession. The game. Maybe even the season. Definitely the postseason. Andrew Whitworth was called for an offensive hold that he didn't believe was actually an offensive hold.
"They didn't beat us. Holding, the way, I read it, is when your feet are beat and your hands are outside and neither one of those things happened," Whitworth said. "The guy who calls the hold is out on coverage on the sidelines. It's amazing to me these guys keep saying those guys can see that. There's no way they're able to tell me they can see from there to make a holding call."
Either way, the officials applied the 10-yard penalty back to Cincinnati's 28-yard line. Thankfully Champ Bailey was called for a defensive hold on the next play, negating Whitworth's penalty and giving Cincinnati a fresh set of downs.
Opportunities. You have to take advantage of them.
Now from their own 33-yard line, Dalton threw poorly thrown passes to Brandon Tate and A.J. Green on consecutive downs. Andrew Whitworth is called for a false start and now at Cincinnati, at this stage grabbing the sword and leveling the sharp edge near the heart, have third and 15.
Yet Andy Dalton completes the 19-yard pass to A.J. Green, converting the first down. Awesome! Yet Jeff Faine was called for the offensive hold, negating the play.
Sorry Andy, they're going to call that.
Now with third and 25, the quarterback fires an underthrown pass down the right sidelines where Champ Bailey fielded the punt-like football for the interception. Now in complete fairness to Dalton, the quarterback was hit just as he threw the football, obviously dissolving the remaining strength behind the pass.
"We had a go-route and were trying to get A.J. It’s one of those where you can take a shot with A.J. and either he’s catching it or nobody is catching it," Dalton said. "I had pressure in my face; I threw it and couldn’t get enough on it, and was getting hit. It was unfortunate that it happened at that time."
That you can blame on Jeff Faine and Clint Boling.
Both offensive linemen were blocking Robert Ayers. Faine expected Boling to stick around, but with Elvis Dumervil on Andrew Whitworth, Boling chipped off to help. That left Faine with a grip on Ayers' jersey, who smacked Dalton as the quarterback was throwing the football.
The Broncos went 54 yards, scoring the touchdown that gave Denver an 11-point lead with 3:41 remaining in the game.
Again. We love Andy Dalton's fire. We're just not sure anyone gave the Broncos the game more than the Bengals themselves.