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Bengal Bytes (12/8): Simply spectacular

The Bengals' pass rush is one of the biggest reasons for their defensive success. Pittsburgh had a field day with the Colts. Who got the game ball for each team, and which cellar-dweller's stock is up?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

AFC Playoff Picture: Osweiler, Dalton could duel
Playing on Wild Card Weekend isn't a death sentence for Super Bowl hopes. Just ask the 2012 Baltimore Ravens, the 2011 New York Giants, or the 2010 Green Bay Packers. But winning four games on the way to a title is much tougher. Just ask Bill Belichick.

Bengals Blogs | The Game To Match His Name
The first time I met A.J. Green was boarding a bus at Paul Brown Stadium before my first game as the team’s radio announcer. The Bengals were headed to the airport for the 2011 preseason opener in Detroit and since I was still broadcasting games for the Pawtucket Red Sox at that time, I had not been able to attend training camp.

Bengals new top seed in AFC
If the Philadelphia Eagles receive a thank-you note attached to a Christmas card with a One Paul Brown Stadium return address, they shouldn't be surprised. That's because the Eagles gift-wrapped the Cincinnati Bengals an early holiday present Sunday evening with their unexpected 35-28 road win against the New England Patriots.

Bengals' rookies get their shot
C.J. Uzomah and Mario Alford admitted to one another there were pregame jitters, as they warmed up as active members of the Cincinnati Bengals for the first time in their rookie seasons. First-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi and undrafted free agent cornerback Troy Hill joined them as being active for the first time, and the Bengals suited up eight rookies in the 37-3 victory over the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Bengals-Browns 5th Quarter: Game balls, analysis; stats of note; more
Welcome to the Bengals Fifth Quarter where I provide my analysis of Sunday's 37-3 win over the Cleveland Browns that came before a crowd of 64,755 in FirstEnergy Stadium

Andy Dalton does something only Peyton Manning has accomplished
When you think of elite NFL quarterbacks, Andy Dalton's name never comes up -- but maybe it should.

Dalton, Green join Manning, Moss in record books
The moment A.J. Green and Andy Dalton were selected in the first two rounds of the 2011 draft, their futures were tied together. The future of the Bengals' franchise hinged on their connection, too. Fitting, then, five years after the two made the first starts of their careers in this very stadium, they returned to cross into rarified NFL air together on the same day.

Notes: Bengals AFC's top seed, Dunlap stuffs stat sheet
Carlos Dunlap ties a career high on impactful day, Jeremy Hill continues resurgence, Domata Peko sets career high in sacks, playoff seed scenarios and Bengals focusing on themselves Sunday.

How a standard pass rush has Bengals keeping teams off scoreboard
Paul Guenther had to wake up a happy man Monday morning. All season the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator has harped on how just one defensive statistic carries weight in his mind: points allowed per game. In a bottom-line game in which jobs and careers are determined by wins and losses, his charge has been for his defensive players to simply keep the opposition off the scoreboard and not to concern themselves with any other metrics that could interfere with that.

Defense extends points embargo
he Bengals’ blend of youth and experience is the envy of the league. It was on display Sunday in the 37-3 victory, where four rookies made their NFL debuts, and nowhere is it more evident than on this defense set on winning the NFL scoring title at 16 points per game.

Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers brace for another tough battle
You'll recall the day after the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers last played, a war of words broke out between players from both teams that spilled over into the media. What impact might those verbal skirmishes have later this week when the teams meet again, this time in Cincinnati?

Behind Enemy Lines

Big Ben wants team to have fun while kicking butt
The Pittsburgh Steelers' offense has rolled out four straight games of 30-plus points. Ben Roethlisberger said he wants everyone to see the Steelers' offense enjoying racking up the points.

Steelers’ defense takes frustrations out on Colts
Three consecutive weeks of opponents throwing the football all over the field had the Steelers feeling like Howard Beale in the movie "Network." They were mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. That feeling made things quite uncomfortable for the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night.

Let the man jump! Antonio Brown should keep celebrating
Antonio Brown's overzealous touchdown celebrations elicit this question from fantasy owners and Pittsburgh Steelers fans: Why risk injury? His leap into the goal post padding Sunday against the Colts was a reminder. Brown is going to be fine. Here are three reasons why.

Random Bytes

Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles stun Patriots; NFL Week 13 | The MMQB with Peter King
The Eagles stunned the Patriots on Sunday—in Foxboro, no less—and Philadelphia’s coach had some things to say about his future afterward. Plus a playoff glimpse, an impressive record and more from Week 13

NFL Nation Game Balls: Week 13
A.J. Green. He eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season, his fifth straight 1,000-yard season to start his career. Randy Moss (six straight) is the only other player to start his career with five straight 1,000-yard seasons.

Bills had a plan for J.J. Watt, and it worked perfectly
There were Texans defenders who had worse days — namely rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson who kept getting torched for touchdown passes. But celebrated defensive end J.J. Watt failed to have his usual impact on the stat sheet, or the Bills, in a 30-21 loss.

Mike Zimmer: We’re not as good as we think we are
After Sunday's blowout loss to the Seahawks, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said that the team was outplayed and outcoached by the visitors from Seattle.

Stock Up, Stock Down for NFL's Cellar-Dwellers
All 32 teams in the NFL deal with ups and downs throughout a season. It is how you deal with the adversity that separates those clubs that make the playoffs opposed to those that go home in early January. Here, we are doing a little stock up and stock down on some teams that likely won’t be reaching the playoffs this season.

Injuries: Peyton Manning could resume on-field work
Peyton Manning could resume on-field work Wednesday, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. This doesn't change Brock Osweiler's status as the starter Sunday against the Raiders. Here's the rest of Monday's injury news.