The Bengals finished the regular season on a high note by defeating the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 23-17 last Sunday. This was the first time that they beat the Ravens in five meetings and was a massive turnaround from the 44-13 beat down that the Ravens laid down on the Bengals on Monday Night Football in Week 1.
Before we get completely engrossed into the Bengals playoff game against the Texans on Saturday, let's take a look back at the Bengals victory last week.
Point One: Great way to end the season
Regardless of how you feel the Bengals played on Sunday against Baltimore, they won the game and that's what they needed to do. Had they lost, it wouldn't have mattered because they had locked themselves into the No. 6 seed when they beat Pittsburgh in Week 16. In the end, they won seven of their last eight games after going 4-4 in the first half of the season.
This way they can take all that momentum into the postseason, which is something they were unable to do the last few times they made it to the playoffs.
Point Two: Loving me some Burfict
As long as he doesn't get penalized too terribly much, or jeopardize the team in any way, I'm all for Vontaze Burfict getting under the competition's skin. The more they're thinking about Burfict, the less they're thinking about what they need to do. Burfict gives the Bengals defense the attitude that they have been missing over the last few seasons.
Also, 18 tackles? Holy crap.
Point Three: Jones stepping up
Losing Mohamed Sanu right when he was hitting his stride was a fairly big blow to the team. It had appeared as if the Bengals had found their No. 2 receiver to play opposite of A.J. Green. However, fellow rookie receiver Marvin Jones has stepped up and done a fairly decent job when it comes to filling the shoes that Sanu was beginning to fill. I'm not saying that he's a viable No. 2 receiver for the Bengals in the future, especially when Sanu comes back, but there's no reason that he can't help the Bengals be successful in the postseason this year.
Point Four: The defense is playing at its best at the right time
The Bengals defense has scored two defensive touchdowns in two straight games. Leon Hall scored the team's lone touchdown in Week 16 when he intercepted Ben Roethlisberger and ran it back for a touchdown and Carlos Dunlap hammered down the final nail in the coffin when he picked off Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor after batting down a pass and then returning it for a touchdown.
The defense has picked the right time of year to play their best football.
Point Five: Dalton crosses two big bridges
Dalton defeated the Steelers for the first time in his career in Week 16 and then defeated the Ravens for the first time as well in Week 17. We can't necessarily give Dalton all the credit for the wins (though he did make big plays when he needed to), but he's the quarterback which means wins and losses mostly rest on his shoulders.
He should be proud of himself and we should be proud of him as well.
Point Six: Bigger accomplishment?
I know that the Bengals going to the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time in 30 years is huge, but what is also huge is the fact that the Bengals will have gone to the playoffs in three of the last four years. Here are the teams that have pulled that off or done better: Patriots, Ravens, Packers, Colts, Falcons and the Saints.
If that's not good company, I don't know what is.
Extra Point: I have good feelings
I'm not making any predictions, but I have very good feelings about the Bengals chances in Houston.