Monday, January 2, 2012

Stumbling Into The Playoffs

Even with their ugly loss on Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals managed to fall into the last AFC wild card spot with, well, everyone else who could have gotten the spot losing too (including Tebow and the Broncos).

In front of a sold-out crowd at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals fell 24-16 to the Ravens as Ray Rice ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns. But with the Dolphins defeating the Jets and losses by the Broncos and Raiders, the Bengals secured the second and final wild card spot and will face third-seeded Houston at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday at Reliant Stadium.

The Bengals and Titans both finished 9-7 but by virtue of Cincinnati’s Week 9 win at Tennessee, the Bengals won the head-to-head tiebreaker. All seven of the Bengals losses are to teams in this season’s playoff field, including the Texans, who rallied for a 20-19 win at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 11.

While there was joy in making the playoffs, the feeling was muted by the loss.

“It’s kind of weird,” said quarterback Andy Dalton, who was 22 of 44 for 232 yards. “We obviously didn’t get it done today, but we still have a chance. It’s what we wanted at the beginning of the season. We wanted to come in and make the playoffs, because once you’re in the playoffs, records up to this point don’t matter. Win you’re in. Lose you’re out. We’re here.”

It's the fact that all seven losses have come to teams in the playoffs that makes me believe the Bengals will probably have been run out of their game next week against the Texans by the 2nd quarter, but it could happen.  But considering this is just the 3rd winning season for the Orange and Black in 21 years, we'll take it.

Of course, the Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1990.  They're due eventually, right?

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