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Highly controversial penalty on Mike Hilton ended Bengals’ comeback hopes vs. Jets

The Bengals deserved to lose, but this was as bad of a call as you’ll ever see.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals played an awful game, especially on defense. That’s understood, but they were also cheated out of a potential comeback when the refs decided to throw a flag on defensive back Mike Hilton.

New York Jets running back Ty Johnson had the ball out wide and ducked his head into Hilton, who was already going low. If the refs had thought Johnson initiated the contact, it would’ve been the other way, but they called it on Hilton.

Here’s the controversial play for unnecessary roughness, costing 15 yards and then giving New York an automatic first down.

As you can see, Hilton is already going low as Johnson then lowers his helmet. It’s a tough bang-bang call for refs to make, but it’s one that ended the Bengals aspirations of a comeback.

The Bengals would’ve had the Jets on 4th down, trailing by three points. If they used a timeout after the hit, assuming no call was made, Cincinnati would’ve got the ball back with around 95 seconds left on the clock and two timeouts.

That’s almost too much time for Burrow who could’ve easily managed to get down the field in just over a minute and a half.

Sadly, he was never given the chance to attempt that game-winning drive, having to settle for tape of the previous drive which ended on a 4th & 19 after a 3rd & 11 sack on Burrow forced a punt.

That drive ended with 2:19 left in the game, so it could’ve also been the Bengals’ chance at winning the game. Overall, the Bengals defense, which gave up 34, was shredded by a quarterback that was making his first career start.

Ty Johnson and Michael Carter combined for over 160 receiving yards as White threw for 400-plus yards. This was a really disappointing loss for one of the hottest teams in the NFL.