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Bengals Bytes (12/6): William Jackson explains himself

William Jackson was apart of one of the more bizarre plays from Monday night when he let Le’Veon Bell run by him along the sideline, but he didn’t run away from questions about the play.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Paul Daugherty: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers far from entertainment
The NFL diminished a little Monday night. Tiny pieces of its glitter departed on gurneys and carts. An empire isn’t taken down all at once. It falls over time, a victim of its own success. Football in general and the NFL in particular encourage a skewed definition of manhood. They promote a false notion of “respect." Trying to injure another man in a football game isn’t manly. It’s anything but. In Real World, no civilized man gains “respect" by savagely tackling another man. Occasionally, he gets thrown in jail.

Bengals help local kids have a merry Christmas
Bengals punter Kevin Huber could have spent Tuesday brooding over the team's Monday night loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, he and his teammates chose to focus on the Greater Cincinnati community by purchasing Christmas gifts for families who don't make NFL salaries.

Cincinnati Bengals Chicago Bears Preview NFL Week 13
Cincinnati dropped their sixth straight game (including playoffs) to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, losing 23-20 on a field goal at the buzzer. The Bengals lost running back Joe Mixon and linebacker Vontaze Burfict to head injuries and safety George Iloka was suspended one game for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Antonio Brown. He is appealing. The loss all but eliminated the Bengals from the AFC playoff race.

Violent Steelers-Bengals game draws wave of critisicm
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on “Monday Night Football” was a particularly brutal and violent game between heated division rivals, leading to multiple injuries and scary moments on the field. The most critical injury involved Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who couldn’t move his legs and reportedly suffered a spinal contusion after a frightening hit early in the game. He left the stadium in an ambulance and is in a local hospital.

TDBH: Leapin’ Lamar vaults Bengals into first as specialists subdue Chargers
San Francisco back Bruce Taylor is going to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but don’t tell that to the Tri-State and its environs. Bengals cornerback Lemar Parrish is their man, particularly today when his 79-yard punt return touchdown and earlier fumble recovery stake the Bengals to a 10-0 lead in a game they beat the Chargers, 17-13, despite recording no official passing yards. Head coach Paul Brown’s three-year-old Baby Bengals pull off a very adult road win for a franchise-record fifth straight victory that evens their record at 6-6 after a 1-6 start and puts them in an improbable half-game lead over the second-place Browns and a full-game lead over the Steelers with two to play. “Some struggle, some struggle,” says a relieved Brown after their 13th victory in less than three years establishes an expansion record.

Iloka suspended for a game with Bengals thin at safety
Bengals starting safety George Iloka figures to appeal his one-game suspension for hitting Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in the head Monday night after he scored the tying touchdown on a six-yard catch with 3:51 left. After the game he said he had no intention of trying to hit Brown in the head.

Fantasy Recap: Week 13
Week 13 marks the final week of the fantasy football regular season, and the last chance owners have to make it to the post-season. What made this week so special for Blake Bortles, the Jaguars offense, and any owners willing to stick with them despite the ups and downs was their match-up, the Indianapolis Colts.

Another win over Steelers vanishes
But forget that. This is no movie. For the Bengals this has become a House of Cards miniseries with the same dark ending season after season. When the Steelers play the Bengals they usually find a way to win and whether it’s a last-minute fumble, a late sack, a series of mind-blowing penalties in the fourth quarter, a final drive at the end of the half or game (this game had both), or a crushing injury or two with the game on the line, the Bengals usually find a way to lose.

Mike Mitchell defends Juju Smith-Schuster, George Iloka, rails on NFL
The aftermath of the bruising Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals matchup left healthy debate over the violence of NFL football and questionable plays. The ruling of a one-game suspension for Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka sparked a thoughtful twitter barrage from Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, who is tired of the inconsistencies with the NFL rulings.

Cincinnati Bengals CB William Jackson III explains lack of effort
With 3:58 left in the third quarter of the Bengals' 23-20 loss to the Steelers on Monday night, Ben Roethlisberger checked down to a pass to running back Le'Veon Bell. Bengals linebacker Mike Evans tried to give Bell a shove as he neared the sideline, but missed. Bell was inches away from the sideline when Jackson, also in pursuit, pulled up. Bell continued to run down the sideline and scored the Steelers first touchdown.

AFC North Bytes

Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t believe JuJu Smith-Schuster should have been suspended
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster in their Week-14 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens after the NFL suspended him for his hit on Vontaze Burfict on Monday Night Football. You can imagine what Steelers fans think of the NFL upholding the suspension, but Ben Roethlisberger chimed in on what he thought of the play on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

Kevin Zeitler voted Browns Ed Block award recipient for 2017
Kevin Zeitler has been voted as the Cleveland Browns’ 2017 Ed Block award winner. One player from each NFL team receives the award annually, as voted on by each team’s players. The award is named after former Baltimore Colts head athletic trainer Ed Block, and is “based on courage, compassion, commitment and community.”

Ravens remain in playoff hunt despite that painful $44.8 million obstacle
The Baltimore Ravens have hold of the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with four games remaining, which is a remarkable feat considering the financial constraints on this team. One quarter of the Ravens' salary cap is accounted for by players no longer on their 53-man roster. The season-ending Achilles injury to cornerback Jimmy Smith on Sunday raised the total of cap dollars invested in injured players or those who've been cut (dead money) to $44.8 million, which takes a big chunk out of the $167 million salary cap.

Random Bytes

Gridiron Heights, Season 2, Ep. 14: Smile for the Week 14 Playoff Picture!
With four weeks remaining in the NFL season, the playoff race is rounding into focus. Yet tight division and wild-card battles led to a crowded picture day in Gridiron Heights. Even if the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers have established a considerable edge over the AFC opposition, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans still deserve a spot in the photo.

Bruce Arians: Making NFL refs full-timers would cut mistakes that cost Cardinals vs. Rams
The day every NFL officiating crew is composed of more full-time league employees can’t get here fast enough for Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, especially after two alleged mistakes by one crew contributed to Arizona's 32-16 loss Sunday to the LA Rams.

What's next for NFL teams out of the playoff race?
With four games left to play in the 2017 season, some NFL teams already have turned their attention to the 2018 offseason and what they have to do to become playoff contenders. No doubt coaching changes will be part of the equation. But can teams turn it around in one season? You bet. Just check out the Rams under coach Sean McVay. And look at what the Saints have done by drafting Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore, likely the offensive and defensive rookies of the year.