Following the New England Patriots loss in Miami, the Bengals had an opportunity to seize the second AFC playoff spot. All they had to do was take care of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who would only be playing for pride.
Instead, the Steelers became the Grinch who stole a Christmas playoff seed from the Bengals gift bag. Had this been a game of “knockout,” an illegal street game involving teens punching out random strangers, the Steelers would be sitting in a jail cell.
Before fans could even put marshmallows in their hot chocolate or sip their first beer, the Steelers had already delivered a knockout punch to the Bengals. The Bengals found themselves down 21-0 early in the game. By halftime they entered the locker room down 27-7. Even worse, Bengals Punter, Kevin Huber, had his jaw broken in the fracas.
The Steelers didn’t share any Christmas joy with former players either as former Steelers fan favorite, LB James Harrison, left the game with a concussion. The Bengals managed to put some points on the board, but it wasn’t enough. The Steelers won 30-20.
The Bengals should still make the playoffs but a higher seed means a playoff game in Cincinnati while a lower seed means traveling to another city. Tonight will be a pivotal Monday night game. The matchup is between the Lions and the Ravens. After the Bengals loss, the door to the playoffs remains open for the Baltimore Ravens who need to win to keep with the Bengals in the AFC North.
Most likely, the Ravens and Lions have to win their respective divisions to make the playoffs because it doesn’t seem like either division will receive an invite to the wildcard party.
From one big cat to another, the Bengals will hope the Lions can take care of the pesky Ravens.
For information about Bengals tickets and the latest updates about the team, be sure to visit the Bengals website.
Marc Hoover is a freelance writer and author of two books “You Need a Cellmate, Not a Soulmate” and “21 Things you Gotta Know About the NFL.” Click on the links to buy his books or contact him about this story or anything else at firstname.lastname@example.org. Marc also has a website for family members to write messages to their deceased loved ones. Visit Letters Beyond Heaven to either share or read personal letters to beloved family members and friends.