The Bengals missed a golden opportunity on Sunday as they lost to a Dallas Cowboys team that doesn't deserve 99 percent of the coverage that they receive as both the Steelers and the Ravens also lost. The Bengals, had the won, would be sitting as the sixth-seed team in the AFC as the Steelers would have been the team that was on the outside looking in.
Here's seven points from the game, beginning with....
|Point One: It could have been bad|
Don't get me wrong, I hate it when the Bengals lose, but the fact that the Steelers and the Ravens lost as well makes me breathe a sigh of relief. We didn't lose any ground in the AFC Playoff hunt, we just didn't gain any. It's almost as if Week 14 didn't happen as far as the Bengals and Steelers are concerned and it just means that the Bengals have to do what we already knew they would have to do: beat Pittsburgh.
|Point Two: Not worried about Green|
Green didn't seem quite himself on Sunday as he dropped a couple passes that he usually comes up with. Realistically, he usually comes up with everything, even poorly thrown balls, but on Sunday, footballs bounced off his hands on more than one occasion. I can't really blame him for the loss, though, as the entire team is to blame and it can't be placed on one guy. Still, I'm not worried about some sort of decline from A.J. Green, even the greatest players have bad days. No big deal.
|Point Three: The league needs to take a second look at their "defenseless receiver" rules|
Reggie Nelson put his shoulder right into Dez Bryant's chest and jarred a ball lose as well as rattling Bryant's bones. It was a perfect, textbook big hit yet the ref still threw a flag and penalized Nelson for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a defenseless receiver. Nelson's helmet never came close to Bryant's and the penalty extended the Cowboy's drive, which had a direct impact on the Bengals losing the game. This happens way too often. It's bad when the commentators are consistently questioning referee's calls from the booth, as they did on Nelson's hit.
I understand why you don't want safeties launching themselves into receivers faces when they come across the middle, but that doesn't mean that you have to throw a flag whenever somebody gets rocked. This is football, getting rocked is a part of the game. Every receiver in the league knows that. Maybe they can institute some sort of instant replay for these hits so they can accurately judge which hits are illegal and which ones aren't. The game moves too fast for them to do it in real time.
|Point Four: BenJarvus Green-Ellis|
The guy's on a roll. He has averaged 5.7 yards per carry over the last four games and in three of those games he has run for over 100 yards. He's only 26 yards away from having a 1000-yard season and he seems to only be getting better as the regular season is drawing to a close. This is good. But what isn't good is when the Bengals top giving their running back, who is on a roll, the ball when they're leading a football game in the fourth quarter. His last carry of the game came when there was 11:59 minutes left. That is unacceptable.
|Point Five: I could see the loss coming in the third quarter|
I'm sure many of you did too. That's what happens when you let teams hang around instead of putting them away early. When the score was 19-10 with the Bengals on top, all the team needed was one touchdown to drive the final nail into the Cowboys' coffin. But when they consistently couldn't do that, you could feel the momentum turning in favor of Dallas and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see what was about to happen.
When you let a team hang around in the NFL, even a team that's not good (the Cowboys aren't that good) you pay for it.
|Point Six: Gut Check|
The Bengals dropped a winnable one that luckily won't hurt their playoff chances. However, they have to shrug this one off and focus on the Eagles, who they play Thursday night in Philly. These next few days will show how tough the Bengals are. Hopefully they can shrug off this loss and get past it in time to defeat one of the most struggling teams in the NFL on a short week.
|Extra Point: Fantasy football|
This is totally off topic, but I'm thinking that I may win my fantasy league for the first time EVER. Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Trent Richardson, Knowshon Moreno/Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Brandon Myers, the Seahawks defense and any random kicker.
How can I lose?
Watch, now I'm going to effing lose.