With 9:16 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bengals have a 27-17 lead when Andy Dalton hands off BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Powering through defenders (aka, victims in Bennie's world), the Bengals running back was finally slowed at the one-yard line, completing a run not unlike being injected with so much testosterone that anyone watching would have experienced a Duck Dynasty-like beard growth within seconds.
One would think that on the following play, Cincinnati would call that up.
Instead, quarterback Andy Dalton threw a back-shoulder pass to A.J. Green. The football hung up long enough for cornerback Jimmy Smith to reach out and intercept the football.
Why not run the football?!
During 700 WLW's postgame interviews with Dave Lapham, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden admitted that the play called was a run-pass. If A.J. Green was playing against single-coverage, the call was for Dalton to check into a pass and throw it to Green. Otherwise, it's a run. Gruden ultimately took the blame for the play call, but ended with "bad decision by Andy."
Marvin Lewis was far more "diplomatic about it".
Marvin on that first down call: "The quarterback has things that they do based on looks so he makes the determination." #Bengals— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) December 29, 2013
More Marvin on that play: "We make the decisions we make and we live with them. Last week we scored TDs on those plays and they were great."— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) December 29, 2013
Ultimately, who cares. Despite Dalton's four picks (not all on him), the Bengals still won by 17 points.
Marvin on Dalton: "You are evaluating a performance and we won a football game by three scores and I feel good about that." #Bengals— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) December 29, 2013