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Vance Joseph takes blame for Bengals playoff loss to Steelers

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Vance Joseph is left to wonder what could have been if the Bengals didn't collapse vs the Steelers in the playoffs.

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Most coaches will admit the toughest losses they endure are what stay with them longer than many of their biggest wins.

Unfortunately for former Bengals co-defensive backs coach Vance Joseph, he was part of one of the worst losses the Cincinnati Bengals will ever endure. Even though he's now the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins, Joseph still has publicly lamented that dreaded Wild Card loss.

In fact, Joseph went as far as to take the blame for the loss during a Thursday meeting with the media. He pointed out the two late penalties that put Pittsburgh in range for a chip-shot field goal to take the lead. One of those was on cornerback Adam Jones, whom Joseph helped coach up to be one of the NFL's best corners this past season.

''We had two penalties that cost us the football game, and that's both on coaches and on players,'' Joseph said, via Steven Wine of the AP. ''Adam is an emotional player. ... I feel responsible. I feel bad for Marvin and ownership that it happened, because that was going to be a historic win for the Bengals. As a coach you feel responsible - that's my guy. That shouldn't have happened. That's wrong.''

On one hand, Joseph is right in taking the blame. Avoiding penalties was something the Bengals coaches didn't stress hard enough this past season, especially when it came to defensive backs. Jones and fellow starter Dre Kirkpatrick combined for 21 penalties during the regular season, and Joseph knows he didn't do a good enough job coaching them to avoid those mistakes.

On the other hand, we're talking about grown men like Jones (32-years-old) making childish mistakes. Jones can't put himself in that situation, even if Joey Porter should not have been on the field.

Joseph and the Bengals are left to wonder what could have been if they didn't collapse against the Steelers in the playoffs. It's good to see Joseph owning up the mistakes made, even though you can debate if he has anything to be sorry about. He helped make the Bengals' secondary great, and hopefully he'll have continued success in Miami... Just not when they play the Bengals.