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Bengals Bytes (12/25): Can’t kick the habit

The Bengals have struggled in close games all year. The Browns finally did it. The Raiders are dealing with something Bengals’ fans know all to well.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis Reportedly To Be Fired Upon End Of Disappointing Season

The Cincinnati Bengals have had a strong recent run, but come into tonight's game with a 5-8-1 record. With the sub-par performance this season, it is rumored that head coach Marvin Lewis could be on the hot seat. The team takes on the Texans to see if the team can end 2016 on a strong note.

Cincinnati Bengals made right move too late by sitting A.J. Green

The Bengals correctly assessed that A.J. Green's risk of reinjury was too high, but they should have ruled him out before taking him to Houston.

Wide right again as Bengals fall, 12-10

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton converted a fourth-down pass to tight end C.J. Uzomah and running back Rex Burkhead ran for nine yards to set up former Texans kicker Randy Bullock’s 43-yard field goal try that sailed wide right on the game’s last play that gave Houston a 12-10 victory and the AFC South title. It summed up the Bengals 5-9-1 season. Wide right.

Another Kick To The Gut

Given a chance to beat his hometown Houston Texans on Christmas Eve – the team that drafted and then waived him three games into last season – Randy Bullock pushed a 43 yard field goal attempt as time expired allowing Houston to beat Cincinnati 12-10.

Quick hits: Dalton feels Green's pain; Dalton-LaFell longest Cincy throw since '95

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis clarified after Saturday night’s 12-10 loss to the Texans that wide receiver A.J. Green asked permission to go home and he granted it in the wake of the decision not to play him. Lewis cited a mid-week scan that revealed the partially torn hamstring wasn’t as healed as much as they had hoped before they decided to put their franchise player back on the field. A Friday night decision to pull Green out of the game surprised Green since he had practiced all week and was in the game plan.

Bengals, Lewis react to A.J. Green decision

The missed field goal by Randy Bullock on Saturday night concluded a weekend of drama in Texas for the Bengals which began earlier in the weekend when they decided to shut down A.J. Green despite the star receiver’s proclamation that he was healthy enough to return from his hamstring injury. Green proceeded to request he be excused to fly back to Cincinnati prior to the game to spend Christmas Eve with his family and the Bengals obliged.

Willie Anderson: If Bengals let me, I can 'save' Ogbuehi

Cedric Ogbuehi will never get bull rushed again – that's a promise Willie Anderson made if the Bengals let the former lineman help the current player. Former Bengals lineman Willie Anderson tweeted Saturday that he could train the struggling Ogbuehi. That tweet got a warm welcome, seeing as it came after Ogbuehi gave up a sack to rising Texans star Jadeveon Clowney.

Bengals haunted again: 'We got to make those kicks'

It was the moment Randy Bullock talked about, specifically, during the week: the chance to kick the game-winner in the city he calls home, against the team that drafted him in 2012 and cut him in 2014, and give his new team its third win in four games. Five seconds left. Indoors. Turf. Forty-three yards.

No A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert dooms Cincinnati Bengals in loss to Texans

The Cincinnati Bengals aren't walking to the finish line. They're practically crawling. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis talked about finishing the season on a high note to create some momentum for next season. That momentum ground to a halt in NRG Stadium on Saturday night in a 12-10 loss to the Houston Texans.

Bengals haven't been able to win close games, and they don't know why

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Brandon LaFell couldn't look as Randy Bullock lined up for a potential game-winning field goal against the Houston Texans. With the way the rest of the season had gone, a last-second win seemed impossible.

AFC North Bytes

Terry Bradshaw Criticizes Mike Tomlin's Ability as Steelers Head Coach

The Pittsburgh Steelers are on the verge of clinching their seventh playoff appearance in 10 seasons under head coach Mike Tomlin, though Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw isn't impressed by the man leading the team with which he won four Super Bowl titles.

Look: Flacco gifts Ravens' O-line virtual reality gaming system

NFL players are in the gift-giving spirit and the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco is the latest to shower his offensive line with presents. Ravens guard John Urschel revealed on Twitter that his quarterback provided him with an Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming package.

Big day for Browns: They win, and keep the No. 1 pick in the draft

When the folks at FirstEnergy Stadium blared Kool and the Gang after Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers they probably had no idea what kind of celebration would follow. 
First came the emotional reaction to the Cleveland Browns winning for the first time in 15 games. Tears were shed by players and coaches, all of whom seemed to feel like they'd clinched a playoff spot.

Random Bytes

Minnesota Vikings DBs ditch Mike Zimmer's game plan

Minnesota Vikings defensive backs diverted from coach Mike Zimmer's game plan to cover Jordy Nelson the whole game, deciding instead to each play their side of the field in losing effort.

Jack Del Rio on Derek Carr: Obviously it’s a big setback

In Week 15, the Raiders got to celebrate their first playoff berth since 2002 while looking ahead to a shot at clinching the AFC West title and a first-round bye. Quarterback Derek Carr fractured his fibula on Saturday, though, and that made for a far more muted celebration tinged with wistfulness about what Carr’s loss means to their hopes of making noise come the postseason.

Jack Del Rio on Derek Carr: Obviously it’s a big setback

In Week 15, the Raiders got to celebrate their first playoff berth since 2002 while looking ahead to a shot at clinching the AFC West title and a first-round bye. Quarterback Derek Carr fractured his fibula on Saturday, though, and that made for a far more muted celebration tinged with wistfulness about what Carr’s loss means to their hopes of making noise come the postseason.

Packers-Lions should move to prime time in Week 17

Although the NFL has not officially announced which Week 17 game will be flexed into Sunday night, the only game that makes sense for the prime time slot is Green Bay at Detroit.

Dolphins say Bills’ Jerry Hughes head butted a coach

A skirmish broke out on the Dolphins’ sideline during Sunday’s game against the Bills, and a Miami coach took a shot that some Dolphins say was cheap. It’s hard to tell exactly what happened on the video, but Bills linebacker Jerry Hughes appeared to stick his facemask into the forehead of Dolphins special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi. Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake said that’s what he saw.

The Latest: Falcons clinch, playoff picture becomes clearer

The Atlanta Falcons not only are in the playoffs, they will go into the postseason as NFC South champs. And thanks to Arizona's stunning 34-31 win in Seattle (9-5-1), the Falcons (10-5) will play for a first-round bye in their regular-season finale. The New York Giants also now have a wild-card berth, which they couldn't wrap up on their own Thursday night, thanks to Tampa Bay's 31-24 loss in New Orleans.

Titans lose Mariota, lose badly to Jaguars

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles delivered one of his best games as a pro, and the Titans lost quarterback Marcus Mariota to injury late in the third quarter. The Titans, with everything to play for, got blown out. The Jaguars scored the last two touchdowns on a trick play and and interception return and went on to win, 38-17.