Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham had an emotional game.
With 5:18 remaining in the third quarter, he turned towards Andy Dalton on a go-route, extending his arms over his body to haul in a 30-yard pass, converting a second and nine. Four plays later, Mike Nugent added a 48-yard field goal to extend Cincinnati's lead 24-17. With 4:58 remaining in the game, Gresham hauled in another 22-yarder to move Cincinnati to their own 39-yard line. Four plays later, Gresham added a 13-yarder to Detroit's 38-yard line at the two minute warning, setting up a third and one.
Convert the down and sustain a possession for the Bengals to kick an eventual field goal to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately Gresham bounced out of his stands prior to the snap for a false start, forcing the Bengals into a third and six from the Lions 43-yard line. Andy Dalton was sacked on the following play and the Bengals were forced to punt. Thankfully a well-placed Kevin Huber punt to the six-yard line and an aggressive defensive approach, allowed the Bengals offense to set Mike Nugent up with the game-winning 54-yard field goal as time expired.
Gresham posted 64 yards receiving (second to A.J. Green's 155 yards) on four reception; all things considered a good afternoon.
But it was his penalties that hurt the Bengals.
With 8:28 remaining in the first half, Gresham was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct, for what appeared to be pushing away an official; or at the very least swatting his hands off of him (or maybe it was just the angle). The penalty moved Cincinnati from Detroit's 20-yard line back to the 35, forcing the Bengals into a second-and-18. They wouldn't pick up more than six yards and Mike Nugent hooked the 47-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Around that time, Gresham left the game for the lockerroom.
Marvin on Gresham: "He went in to clear his own head."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) October 20, 2013
Lewis: Gresham went to locker room in first half to clear his head— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) October 20, 2013
We're not sure if Lewis told Gresham to sit out for the rest of the first half or not; perhaps it was a self-imposed exile. However, according to the radio broadcast, the coaching staff actually showed film on Friday regarding how the Lions get those type of reactions out of players. So whatever happened wasn't unexpected and we could see how Lewis would angrily react to Gresham's personal foul.
That being said, the Bengals got good production out of their tight ends against the Lions. Gresham and Tyler Eifert combined for seven receptions for 109 yards receiving, including Eifert's first career touchdown, which gave the Bengals a 21-10 lead early in the third quarter.
Personally, I love Gresham when he turns from an introverted recluse to a fierce player that can absolutely succeed in any position he's put in. The penalties hurt the Bengals, there's no doubt. But the game was won and he was a big part of that also.