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Warped History: Recalling the Bengals playoff loss to the Chargers

As the Bengals face the Chargers for the first time since losing in the playoffs, I drum up my sentiments and reactions to the game.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Deflated is a pretty good way to describe the feeling I had after witnessing the Bengals shoot themselves in the foot in their playoff loss to the Chargers. First, I have to do the right thing and give the Chargers credit for the win, they were the better team that day and...

Forget that. My recollection of the game is that the Bengals gave this one to the Chargers. There are more than a few plays the Bengals made, or failed to make that cost them this game. I still contend they were the better team and without some moronic mistakes by multiple players, this should have been a win for the Bengals.

The game started well, the Bengals had opportunities to end the Chargers' first scoring drive, but the ever-nimble Rivers was able to make the Bengals miss on sure sack opportunities twice to keep the drive alive. The second drive was bad as Rivers was in Carlos Dunalp's arms but wiggled free and completed a pass to the five yard line. Wait, WhoDeyFans, Rivers is not known for his elusiveness. Yeah, I know, this is one of the first things that should not have happened.

It wasn't over at that point. The Bengals came right back and answered the Chargers' touchdown. Andy Dalton, Giovani Bernard and Jermaine Gresham had an outstanding drive that evened the game. Then on the next drive, Dalton completed a 50 yard pass in stride to Marvin Jones. The Bengals had the opportunity to go up two scores on the Chargers. Andy Dalton placed a great ball over a linebacker to Giovani Bernard inside the 10 yard line. Bernard turned, and lost the football with a fumble. Points off the board. At the time, I remember having arguments with people that blame this play on Dalton and I still claim that is moronic.

Gio Catch

The Bengals defense responded and didn't let the turnover hurt too bad. The Bengals got the ball back and added a field goal to go into the half with a 10-7 lead. This lead should have been bigger.

The second half was a different story, the team fell apart. The ENTIRE team fell apart. In the first half the Chargers had one nice drive of 86 yards and a touchdown. Their other drives were:

  • 3 plays 8 yards - punt
  • 3 plays 10 yards - punt
  • 4 plays -4 yards - punt
In the second half their drives looked like this:
  • 10 plays 80 yards - touchdown
  • 9 plays 31 yards - field goal
  • 5 plays 1 yard - field goal
  • 3 plays 4 yards - punt
  • 3 plays 7 yards - punt
  • 2 plays 60 yards - touchdown
The Bengals defense was gashed for almost 200 yards on the ground. People point to Philip Rivers' low passing stats to try and prove an argument that it was just a single player responsible for the loss, but why would the Chargers throw with a lead while Ryan Matthews was gashing the Bengals for huge chunks of yards.

Wait, Matthews was hurt the second half? You mean to tell me that the Bengals were run all over by Danny Woodhead and journeyman Ronnie Brown? Yeah, this defense played great...

The moral of the story is the Bengals collapsed. It wasn't some buzzsaw Chargers team that came in and knocked off the lowly Bengals; this was a game that the Bengals controlled and could have put away early. The entire team collapsed and we were left with another playoff loss.

I have seen discussions that this may or may not be a revenge game, and honestly, I don't care how you look at it. I once again see the Bengals as the better team and unless they collapse around themselves again with stupid play, they should come out as the winners on Sunday afternoon.