Morning Bites (1/6): Bengals lose to Chargers edition

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the stories around the internet regarding the Bengals loss to the Chargers (if you're glutton for punishment).

NFL wild-card weekend a thriller, except for Cincinnati Bengals
Seven teams playing scintillating playoff football (some even dabbled with defense), and then Cincinnati. You know, the same old Bengals. Isn’t that what the weekend felt like? Great, great football on a 139-point Saturday, and drama galore in the last game of the weekend Sunday evening, the modern-day Ice Bowl in Green Bay (where the Packers, suddenly, have a home-field playoff disadvantage). But what an Akili Smith-sized egg the Bengals laid, and the resurgent Chargers were only too happy to take the win they overwhelmingly deserved.

The NFL took us back to the 70s in the wild-card round
The Bengals and Chargers also played a strangely old-school football game. Frightened by a weather report that changed every hour and proved to be totally inaccurate, both teams adopted gameplans that would have appeared old-fashioned to Dan Fouts and Kenny Anderson in 1981. The Chargers benefited from 196 pounding rushing yards; the Bengals were doomed the moment Andy Dalton tried to throw into a slight breeze in the Chargers' 27-10 upset.

Doc: Bengals' season deserved a better end
It was a lovely day for an exorcism. Sad skies, falling temperatures, steady, cold rain after halftime. A perfect metaphor for what should have been.

Bengals lines didn't get it done
This group, which prides itself on physicality in the trenches, was beaten handily there. The San Diego Chargers ripped off the Bengals' playbook from the first game out West and shoved it down their throat.

No clear answer for Bengals' woes
If this team, 8-0 at home, AFC North Champions, playing against a team they beat five weeks earlier can't find a way to end the 22-year playoff drought, when can it happen?

Chargers pull plug on Bengals
For the third straight season the Bengals offense imploded in the wild card game as four turnovers doomed this postseason run and paved the way for San Diego's 27-10 victory.

Chargers-Bengals Postgame Quotes
"It’s a tough day, yes it is. It’s disappointing, for as hard as we’ve worked and played, to have a football game where we’ve got opportunities, and we let it go."

Lewis: latest playoff loss 'disappointing'
In a room packed with reporters late Sunday afternoon, 10 silent seconds ticked by between the time Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis ended his opening postgame comments and was asked his first question.

Yet again on big stage Dalton is ... Dalton
Four days ago, Andy Dalton finished second in the voting for the tightly contested Cincinnati Bengals MVP race that was conducted by the Cincinnati chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America. He was edged by linebacker Vontaze Burfict by just two points.

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Bengals need to make decision on Dalton
At the very least, Cincinnati needs to bring in a live arm next offseason and give him a real chance to beat out Dalton for his starting job. I suspect this won't happen (Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said after the game, "I don't have any questions about Andy's role"). But it should, because at this point, we just don't know if Dalton is the kind of quarterback who can lead the Bengals to anything other than the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Andy Dalton flops again as San Diego Chargers rally past Cincinnati Bengals
Despite securing a third straight playoff berth (this time complete with a division title and home game), the Bengals entered Sunday’s game with the same questions about their quarterback play — not to mention their coach’s ability to win in the postseason — hovering like gnats on a summer day. In a 27-10 loss, Dalton only further fueled the notion that this Cincinnati team has maxed out what it can accomplish with him at the helm, even though his coach disagrees.

Rivers runs
Everybody keeps saying the running game is dead in the NFL. But in the Bengals' last two playoff losses at Paul Brown Stadium four years apart, the foes barely threw the ball when the Cincinnati offense struggled to take control of the game and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's two highest ranked defenses got hurt.

Bengals seek postseason formula
It was one of those days. One of those days that ended the best Bengals season in recent memory so suddenly and decisively that it threatened to swallow all of 2013 whole.

Hits: Stunned Bengals take note of Chargers plan; Lewis backs Dalton; Jones passes Collinsworth
So confident during the week, the Bengals were downright stunned to be going home so early after their third straight postseason loss in 24 months.

Third straight one-and-done leaves nothing but disappointment
This was supposed to be the year the Bengals got over that postseason futility hump. Instead they have nothing but questions facing them.

Bengals fall to Chargers in another playoff loss
The Bengals failed to advance in the playoffs for the third consecutive year with Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Chargers.

Keys to victory: Chargers 27, Bengals 10 - Stats & Info Blog - ESPN
What were the keys to victory for the San Diego Chargers in their 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, their first playoff win since the 2008 wild-card game against the Indianapolis Colts?

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