Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga regrets it.
Despite having a fine start to the young season, second on the team with 15 tackles, the one blemish was after a play against the Bears. With 1:15 remaining during the regular season opener, Carlos Dunlap dropped running back Michael Bush for a one-yard gain on third down. It was likely that Chicago, punting from their own 45-yard line, would have dropped Cincinnati near their own goalline with around 30 seconds remaining without any time outs. But a couple of beautiful A.J. Green sidelines routes could have put Cincinnati in position to wipe out Chicago's 24-21 lead.
Instead, Maualuga was flagged for a personnel foul after the play, eliminating Cincinnati's opportunity to make a miracle-like series of plays to tie the game in regulation. After the game, Maualuga spoke to Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and apologized.
"There was nothing I could say. It was over," Maualuga said on Wednesday via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I told him I’m sorry for taking it over the top. He said it was a stupid mistake, but you can’t put this on your shoulders because it just wasn’t you that lost the game."
That much is true. The Bengals offense turned the ball over three times and the defense allowed four of six third down opportunities in the second half.
"(Lewis) said it was a stupid mistake, but you can't put this on your shoulders because it just wasn't you that lost the game," Maualuga recalled before Wednesday's practice via Bengals.com. "It put me at ease, but at the same time I'm worried about what coaches say. I'm worried about what the front office says."