Despite securing a 42-28 win over the Indianapolis Colts and claiming a 1.5-game lead for the third seed, Cincinnati paid a certain price and the cost remains relatively unknown.
When half of Cincinnati's defense missed the elusive LaVon Brazill, turning a short gain into a 19-yard touchdown with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter, safety George Iloka suffered a head injury and laid on the turf for several moments. After he was helped off the field (and looked extremely unbalanced), Iloka was quickly ruled out of the game. Defensive back Chris Crocker moved to safety and Dre Kirkpatrick filled in as the slot defender.
With 9:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, Andrew Luck floated the football down the right sidelines, hitting wide receiver LaVon Brazill in stride for the 29-yard touchdown to reduce Cincinnati's lead, 35-21. Cornerback Terence Newman allowed the inside release, expecting safety help from Chris Crocker which never came.
Then at some point after the play (maybe during it or another defensive play that I completely missed), the team announced that Terence Newman suffered a left knee injury and would not return.
Usually when the team announces that someone will miss the rest of the game after sustaining an injury, it's never good.
After the game, Newman was seen in the locker room on crutches.
Newman was on crutches in the locker room. Sounds like he could be out awhile— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) December 8, 2013
If he's unable to go, the Bengals would likely slide Dre Kirkpatrick into the starting role. Normally Chris Crocker would play the slot, but he was forced to replace George Iloka, who suffered a scary looking head injury in the second half in what could be a concussion (based on his reaction coming off the field).
Concussions can be frustrating recoveries (Carlos Dunlap needed several weeks during the preseason) and people rarely say "it's cautionary" while walking around on crutches (though I seem to remember that actually being the case in the past). Keep in mind that nothing is actually known and more details will be released this week.
If neither are able to go against the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, the Bengals would be down to three cornerbacks (Adam Jones, Kirkpatrick and Brandon Ghee) and three safeties (Crocker, Reggie Nelson and Shawn Williams). If the Bengals are forced to call up anyone, Chris Lewis-Harris and Onterio McCalebb are on the team's practice squad.