For the past four games now, the Bengals have played competitive football. Yesterday’s showdown against the Browns was no different, and the Bengals had a chance to tie the Browns yesterday at the end of the game.
What occurred before they got that opportunity was something that defied what the 2019 regular season has established as conventional wisdom. A referee-initiated review for pass interference, something that has been under much scrutiny this season, moved the chains for the Browns and dashed the hopes for the Bengals.
This was an absolute game changer for Cincinnati. Here’s how the ESPN play-by-play broke it down:
“B.Mayfield pass short left intended for O.Beckham INTERCEPTED by J.Bates III (W.Jackson III) at CLV 25. J.Bates III to CLV 16 for 9 yards (J.Landry). The Replay Official reviewed the play for possible defensive pass interference, and the play was REVERSED.”
Here’s a look at the play itself:
Let’s just say with the score at 24-16, this call made all the difference. To be fair, it did seem like there was contact, but with the way the league and officials have called pass interference this season, the Bengals should’ve had hope as the review was under way.
Well, the score eventually became 27-16 at the conclusion of the drive, leaving the Bengals with about a minute left and theoretically ending any chance for them to come back and win. While it’s easy to blame the refs, this game was far more than just one call.
A stagnant offense would’ve also had to push and score a touchdown and secure the two-point conversion to even force overtime. While that was unlikely, this call on William Jackson III, did certainly change the game.
The officials put their stamp on the game, and that’s certainly a takeaway. However, for Cincinnati, a loss really does nothing. If anything, it gives them a better chance at the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
If they’re still fired up about it, hopefully they can come out in Week 17 and put on a dominant performance at home against this same Browns team.