Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NFL ; Bengals' OT Loss Complicates Playoff Quest

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NFL ; Bengals' OT Loss Complicates Playoff Quest

Article excerpt

CINCINNATI - The Bengals' quest to end their long streak of playoff futility has gotten a lot tougher. A 20-17 overtime loss in Denver on Monday night most likely cost the Bengals (11-4) a chance for a first-round bye in the playoffs. If the Broncos (11-4) win at home against San Diego (4-11) next Sunday, they'll get the bye.

Instead of having a week off to let Andy Dalton's broken thumb heal, the AFC North champions would host a playoff game and then have to win two more on the road in order to reach the Super Bowl - a much tougher road.

This one really stings.

"Obviously, we knew what we had in front of us, the opportunity to get the bye, defensive end Carlos Dunlap said.

Several Bengals starters are injured and were hoping for a week of rest. Receiver A.J. Green is playing with a sore back. Tight end Tyler Eifert missed the past two games with a concussion. Safety George Iloka missed the past two games with an injured groin. Cornerback Adam "Pacman Jones is playing with an injured right foot.

Plus, a bye would have given Dalton another week for the broken bone in his right thumb to heal. It's been two weeks since the injury. The Bengals are hoping to get him back for the playoffs, but the likely first-round game complicates it.

"It's tough, Green said. "We have a lot of guys banged up, so we could have really used that bye. All we have to do is go out there and take care of next weekend, and hope for the best.

The Bengals host Baltimore (5-10) on Sunday. They can still get a first-round bye if they beat the Ravens and the Broncos lose, or if they lose and the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win.

The way that they lost in Denver was as disappointing as anything. AJ McCarron made his second NFL start and was impressive in the first half. He led the Bengals on two long touchdown drives to open the game against the league's top-ranked defense, and got them in position for a field goal that Mike Nugent missed. …

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