Primetime win over Manning clinches playoffs for Bengals

12/23/2014 11:30 AM

Merry Clinchmas, Cincinnati. The Bengals killed a few birds with one stone last night on Monday Night Football; they finally beat Peyton Manning (he previously was 8-0 vs. Cincinnati), won a big time game in primetime and clinched their fourth straight trip to the playoffs.

It took only two passes before Andy Dalton threw a pick six to Aqib Talib and the scene seemed all too familiar. The difference was this time the Bengals responded. The next drive, Jeremy Hill scored on an 85 yard touchdown run to make it 7-7. The rest of the night continued that way, with every punch there was a counterpunch and the Bengals came out on top, in large part, thanks to two fourth quarter interceptions by cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

A few days before the game, Marvin Lewis said the reason the Bengals lose in primetime is the opposing quarterback plays better. Last night seemed to prove Lewis right. Believe it or not, the quarterback that played better in last night’s game was wearing stripes. Andy Dalton’s numbers weren’t spectacular, partly because they ran the ball all game long, but Manning’s were worse. Cincinnati rattled the future Hall of Fame quarterback, who threw for four interceptions for the first time since 2010. In fact, Manning hadn’t thrown more than two interceptions in a game in all three years as a Bronco.

The Bengals are now officially in the playoffs but are still playing for a few things next week. First and foremost is that a win gives them another AFC North championship. In terms of playoff implications, a win combined with a Broncos loss to Oakland would give Cincinnati the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. A win combined with a Broncos win would make Cincinnati the No. 3 seed and they would host a playoff game on January 3 or 4 against the No. 6 seed. A loss would mean the Bengals are the No. 5 seed and would head to Indianapolis to play the No. 4 seed Colts. Not to mention, Cincinnati gets another shot at quieting the primetime doubts since Bengals-Steelers has been flexed to Sunday Night Football.


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