It was a fitting end to a disappointing evening. The offense just couldn't get it together and the defense had distracted thoughts with Geno Atkins on crutches and a massive ice pack on his knee.
With 6:42 left in overtime, quarterback Andy Dalton took the shotgun snap from Cincinnati's eight-yard line, needing ten yards to pick up a first down and help shift the field position that Miami had acquired -- which all began on a 38-yard pass interference on Terence Newman, who in turn thought that Mike Wallace's go-route, with over nine minutes remaining, would have scored an easy touchdown.
Cameron Wake, at left defensive end, took an inside slant where offensive guard Kevin Zeitler was waiting -- it's not like the stunt confused Cincinnati's offensive line. Wake powered his way inside of Zeitler, bearing down on Dalton. Since the pass rush was up the middle, Dalton had no chance.
It looked like Marvin Jones was breaking free over the middle, but Wake's approach had absorbed most of Dalton's field of vision. The game ended with a safety when Wake drills Dalton for a quarterback sack, a safety, and a two-point win during the sudden death point in overtime.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis disagreed with the call, believing that the football was out when Wake collided with Dalton.
"In my opinion, the ball was out of the end zone and so I don’t get it," said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.
An official review confirmed the call. Re-watching the play from various angles, it appears that the correct call was made. Just as Wake was hitting the quarterback, Dalton goes to secure the football causing the ball to (just) barely brush against the goalline.
Even if the angle doesn't confirm the call, there's not enough there to overturn it since the call on the field was a safety. I can see how Lewis would dispute the call; from the end of the game to the moment he's talking to reporters, he doesn't have an opportunity to sit in a quite room and break the play down.
The reality of Cincinnati's loss is that it should have never come down to that play. You can't expect to win in this league after turning the ball over four times, putting Dalton under relentless pressure, nor rely on a depleted defense during Miami's fourth quarter drive that tied the game at 20. It was a bad night and the team has time to recover this season to maintain their postseason goals.