The Cincinnati Bengals (11-4) were essentially forced to forfeit their chance at the #1 seed (which we now know they wouldn’t have gotten) and a good chance at the #2 seed when the NFL imposed new rules to account for the unfinished game against the Buffalo Bills (12-3) following a scary injury to Bills safety Damar Hamlin.
A new report by ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio suggests that the Bengals never would have even found themselves in this situation had they known the Bills had no intention of finishing the game later in the week.
According to this story, Bills head coach Sean McDermott was resigned to the fact that he could not continue, even if it meant forfeiting the game. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor decided to act honorably and give the Bills a chance to continue the game later, even mentioning Tuesday. As Florio writes, “Bengals players generally accepted the prospect of a one-day delay.”
But then the Bills left Cincinnati, which confused a number of Bengals players. And while the Bengals players were sensitive to the situation, they “fully realized the stakes of the game” and “wanted to get it played”.
Following the exodus of the Bills, the Bengals were reportedly “in the dark” regarding what would happen next, only learning the game was cancelled on Thursday, like the rest of us.
Here’s an excerpt of the report:
If this is true, the Bengals cannot be happy with how the Bills handled the situation. Further, they are probably even more upset with the NFL for punishing the team that was ready to continue playing at a later date.
At any rate, there’s a game to play today. If the Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens (10-6), they will have at least one home playoff game. If they win and the Bills lose to the New England Patriots (8-8), the Bengals will end up with the #2 seed, which is the best they could’ve gotten even if the Monday night game wasn’t canceled.
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