Article by Gordon Dedman
I don’t pay much attention to the build up to the Draft as there
are too many imponderables to provide any realism to project which player will
go to what team except for the first few, but even then there can be twists
The NFL Draft is big business, even big show business.
There will be blanket coverage for the league in the news and
social media at the end of this month. “A three-day outdoor football festival for
families and fans of all ages,” is how the NFL describes the extravaganza
that will take over Chicago.
The teams have been evaluating players throughout the college
season climaxing with the NFL Scouting Combine
at the beginning of the year. Take a look at each team’s front office
listing the personnel in their scouting unit. There’s a lot of depth and
investment in the department, because it can provide some outstanding rewards.
But, all the research and analysis in the world isn’t guaranteed
to pick a winner and there are many occasions when teams overlook future stars.
Tom Brady wasn’t selected until the
sixth round of the 2000 draft, but six other quarterbacks were picked before he
was taken by New England.
For nearly forty years, the Steelers
were perennial losers, but when they hired Chuck
Noll in 1969 he built a Super Bowl
winning team through the draft. His first ever pick Joe Greene turned into a legend and the Hall of Fame is filled with many more of Noll’s draft choices.
I was fortunate once to visit the Steelers “war room.” It was during the season and on one wall were several
columns of cards with players’ names arranged in slots so they could be moved
up or down as the individual’s stock rose or dipped. The pro season was still
in flight, but the Steelers were already evaluating players they might draft in
six months’ time.
Steelers General Manager Kevin has stated the Steelers will focus this
year on the defensive side of the ball. Steeler fans have been complaining about
the team’s secondary for years so they will be hoping Pittsburgh uses its first round pick on a cornerback for the first
time since 1997 when they selected Chad
The Steelers won’t be the only team in the division adding depth
to their defense. The Bengals
eleventh ranked defense took a hit when their Pro Bowler safety Reggie Nelson agreed a two year deal
Cincinnati did pick up
linebacker Karlos Dansby from Cleveland, but they need to do more on
that side of the ball. The Bengals lost two receivers to free agency so replacements
should also figure in their draft.
After their 5-11 season, the Ravens
find themselves in the unusual position of having a high pick that should
provide them with a great opportunity to select a solid player to strengthen
Now the Browns have RG3 onboard and with experts projecting
them to select a quarterback with their overall second pick, it appears that
Josh McCown could find himself redundant in Cleveland.
Maybe new head coach Hue
Jackson thinks differently about using that top pick on a quarterback. He enthused
about Josh McCown, “You
don’t play in this league for 15 years having not been very good at what you
do. He provides us with a really good quarterback, obviously a veteran presence
and I am just excited to work with him.”
With the loss of Travis
Benjamin to free agency, whoever leads the Browns at quarterback may not
have anyone to throw to unless they address the deficit in the draft.
One player who may not find work is Browns receiver Josh Gordon, who was forced to sit out
last season for drugs violation. It appears he has failed another drugs test so
has to wait until August for the NFL’s decision on whether he can play. Stories
are now circulating that Gordon is living with Johnny Manziel. You just couldn’t make it up, but it is the Browns
we are talking about so we don’t have to.
Article by Gordon Dedman
Robert Lee Griffin III is now with Cleveland
Foolhardy or genius? The Browns signing of RG III may give Cleveland the franchise
quarterback they have been seeking, but there’s a good chance it will prove yet
The franchise never appears to learn any lessons. As the Pittsburgh sports reporter said, look
in the dictionary and you will find the Browns logo.
Griffin was an outstanding player, both in college and his
first year as a pro. His performances at Baylor
were good enough to earn him the 2011
Heisman Trophy and impress the Redskins
sufficiently to for the team to trade up to select him in 2012.
He missed a large part of Baylor’s 2009 season with a torn
ACL. On his return after surgery, he led
the Bears to a 7-6 record. The following season’s 10-3 took the team to their
first bowl appearance for seventeen years and earned him the Heisman.
Luck had been pencilled in as that year’s Heisman winner before Griffin’s
exploits brought him the honour. He was the nation’s most efficient passer,
throwing for 3,998 yards with 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He
added 644 yards rushing with nine more touchdowns.
Griffin decided to forsake his senior college year to enter
the 2012 draft. The Browns general manager Tom Heckerts called Griffin a “special
athlete” and with their overall third pick were favoured to select him
if still available.
But it was the Redskins who made the move, trading up with
the Rams to second spot while
Cleveland took Trent Richardson with
the next selection. Both players have failed to live up to expectations
although Griffin had a spectacular first year in Washington.
He finished that season with a quarterback rating of 102.4
(a record for a rookie) and was the NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year after
turning the franchise around from losers to the NFC West division champions.
Injuries then affected his playing ability and last season he did not play a
snap after falling out of favour with Coach
The Browns have gone through 24 quarterbacks since returning
to the league and while seeking the Holy Grail of a franchise quarterback have
wasted a lot of money and effort. If they had succeeded in their quest, the
cupboard would be bare of supporting players and the same old Browns would
still have a skeleton of a team.
Will it be any different with RG III? Cleveland’s coach Hue Jackson believes it will describing
Griffin as “a tremendous talent and a great man.” With the talented
quarterbacks the other teams in the AFC North enjoy, they won’t lose any sleep
over the signing.
Jackson also raved about Cal quarterback Jared Goff
and indicated the Browns may select a quarterback in the draft with their
second overall pick. Does that indicate an attempt to put more than one wheel
back on the wagon or perhaps the Browns have come up with a cunning plan to
change the course of their history?
Article by Gordon Dedman
Walker was tragically killed in a dirt bike
accident last week. “We are grieving the loss of a special young man,” tweeted the
team. Walker was drafted last year and played eight games.
AFC North Free Agency Moves
As everyone suspected and predicted, Johnny Manziel is currently team less
after the Browns let him go. Manziel
still wants to play in the NFL, but with the pictures of him partying that
continuously appear in Social Media just mean the teams prepared to take a risk
with the enigma are diminishing. With a potential domestic violence case
hanging over him, Manziel will find enthusiasm to sign him fading.
Cleveland was not the only team to face player
problems after Pittsburgh discovered
they will lose Martavis Bryant for
the year for his second substance abuse violation. Bryant will be remembered
for the unbelievable head over heels reception he made in the playoffs against Cincinnati. Bryant is another talented
player that feels the need to self-destruct.
The Steelers also lost Heath Miller, but for the right reasons
with his decision to retire. Miller missed only eight games in eleven seasons
and is the team’s all-time leader for tight ends in receptions (592), receiving
yards (6,569) and receiving touchdowns (45).
Image courtesy of Gordon Dedman
Ben Roethlisberger often referred to Miller as his greatest
teammate and he will be difficult to replace. The Steelers wasted little time
in an attempt to address the loss by signing Ladarius
Green, a free agent who spent
four years in San Diego.
Another San Diego player moving east is
safety Eric Weddle. “I
couldn’t be more excited and pumped to be a part of a championship organisation
who wanted me from day one,” said Weddle about joining the Ravens. He
left his nine-year career with the Chargers in not so friendly terms which
explain his enthusiasm for Baltimore.
Former Steeler Mike Wallace was also signed by the Ravens after spending two years
in Miami and last season with the Vikings.
took a knock with the loss of two able receivers from their offense. Marvin Jones went to Detroit and Mohamed Sanu was signed by Atlanta.
Sanu saw less playing time last season so his $32 million five year contract
was a great incentive to switch to the Falcons.
Jones signed with the Lions on similar
Safety Taylor Mays will be returning to the Bengals after spending a year
in Oakland where he played in 14
games. Mays is suspended for the first four games of this season for substance
Players moving to the AFC North
Eric Weddle FS from San Diego to Baltimore
Mike Wallace WR from Minnesota to Baltimore
Benjamin Watson TE from New Orleans to Baltimore
Taylor Mays S from Oakland to Cincinnati
Demario Davis ILB from New York Jets to Cleveland
Justin Tuggle ILB from Houston to Cleveland
Rahim Moore FS from Houston to Cleveland
Alvin Bailey G from Seattle to Cleveland
Green TE from San Diego to Pittsburgh
Ryan Harris T from Denver to Pittsburgh
compensatory draft picks:
round – 132 overall.
Baltimore 4th round – 134 overall.
Baltimore 6th round – 209 overall.
round – 138 overall.
Cleveland 5th round – 172 overall.
Cleveland 5th round – 173 overall.
Pittsburgh 6th round – 220 overall.
Article by Sam Beresford
player, and soon to be free agent, Danny
Trevathan is one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL. This was
portrayed in the Broncos outstanding defensive display that led them to a 24-10
win in the Super Bowl, where
Trevathan played a major role with two fumbles recoveries.
Since being drafted into the league in the 6th
round of the 2012 NFL draft (with the pick they received from trading Tim Tebow to the Jets), Trevathan has been under the radar; with bigger stars and
names in that Broncos front 7 (such as future hall of famers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware) quite rightly commanding the attention form the
media. In college, Trevathan was a star linebacker out of Kentucky and earnt himself First-team All-SEC honours in 2010 and
Second-team the year later. He led the conference in tackling (144) in 2011 and
led the conference again through nine games in 2011. This, in no doubt, conveys
the talent and commitment that has led him to becoming a highly touted free
Trevathan is just entering his prime, at the age of 25 with
many good years ahead of him. He has not quite got the measurables that are
desired at the top level, standing at 6’1” and weighing in at 240 pounds
however, he makes up for that in desire and toughness, as seen by his college
statistics. Trevathan is very solid against the run, and a capable tackler. The
ability to stop the run is a quality that is tremendously important when trying
to find your inside linebacker of the future, and Trevathan clearly portrays this
quality, in abundance.
Even though he plays inside
linebacker he has the ability to rush the passer as shown in 2013 (undoubtedly
his best year in the league), where he rushed the passer 60 times, equating to
2 sacks, 3 hits and 14 pressures, this meant that he applied pressure onto the
quarterback 33 % of rushes, this truly is very effective for a player with
limited speed playing on the inside. This tells us that Trevathan is a smart
player, who can not only use his physical ability but also his mental ability
to get to the quarterback to try to make a play. However, last season, Trevathan did not
achieve one sack in any of his 15 starts, this could be cause for concern,
although, he has shown he has the skillset throughout his 50 game regular
season career to squash those concerns.
Many teams are currently looking for a linebacker that can
also drop into coverage, when necessary. Trevathan has shown he has the ability
to do this, with 5 career interceptions, including 2 last season (returning 1
for a touchdown) and 3 in 2013. This once again comes down to Trevathan’s
“football IQ” which is plain to see, although he does not always make the play.
You can see him read the quarterbacks eyes, trying to make a play on the ball,
this is shown by his 6 pass deflections in 2015 and 10 deflections in 2013.
Overall, Trevathan is not perfect, but he definitely has the
potential to become a star linebacker within the league. He definitely has the
ball in his court, as far as negotiations go with the Broncos busy off season
ahead. Many experts see Von Miller as a likely franchise tag, while Brock Osweiler needs a long term deal
and the futures of defensive linemen Derek
Wolfe and Malik Jackson also
need addressing. This could lead to Trevathan being allowed to test the open
market, somewhere he will be bound to have suitors all willing to offer him multi-year
million dollar contracts for the three down linebacker.
Article by Gordon Dedman
Even with the Super Bowl over, the NFL doesn’t stand still and the Browns were running as soon as their
season finished. They enjoy musical chairs in Cleveland and once again replaced their coach before he had time to
get comfortable in the job.
On average, since 1999 when the Browns team
was reborn, the franchise has changed their head coach every two years and the
firing of Mike Pettine was true to
form. His 3-13 record saw him exit along with the organisation’s general
Their quarterbacks cannot be blamed for all
the misery on offense. If they don’t have any support, you can’t expect them to
produce miracles as they are hounded around the field. Josh McCown performed well under constant pressure and still has
two years left on his contract, and should be given the opportunity to confirm
his competence, but this is the Browns we are talking about.
As is usual when a new head coach takes over
the reins, Hue Jackson has put his
own men in place on the coaching staff. With a new offensive
coordinator/assistant head coach in Pep Hamilton, yet more changes when this team really needed some stability.
All signs point to Johnny Manziel being shown the exit and amazingly, the draft talk in
Cleveland revolves around the selection of a quarterback with their overall
second pick. There is even talk of the Cleveland trading for one, but it is
just talk so cooler heads will prevail… won’t they?
Against tremendous adversity when he lost
some top players during the season, Mike
Tomlin still managed to take his team to the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
The NFL Nation writers who report on the AFC North acknowledged Tomlin
as their AFC North Coach of the Year
for overcoming adversity. Despite the loss of some star players, Tomlin managed to take the Steelers close to Super Bowl 50 before losing to the
They also awarded running back Duke Johnson the Rookie of the Year.
Johnston was drafted in the third round by Cleveland and he ended the season
with 379 yards rushing on 104 carries so the news isn’t all bad for the Browns.
received some good news with wide receiver Steve
Smith stating he wants to return to the team after hinting at the beginning
of last season that 2015 would be his final year in football. The injury that saw him miss half the season
has changed his mind – if he makes a full recovery from his Achilles injury.
While the Bengals wait for Andy Dalton to begin throwing again after fracturing his thumb in
week 14, they promoted their quarterback coach Ken Zampese to the offensive coordinator position. The
change was forced on the team after Hue Jackson moved to the Browns.
Burfict’s 3-game suspension for his hit on Steelers Antonio Brown was upheld by the NFL appeals officer Derrick Brooks.
The AFC North lost its last representative
in the playoffs when the Steelers failed
to win a gritty battle in Denver. As
I had suggested in my preview, it was a turnover that flipped the momentum. Fitzgerald
Toussaint’s fumble five minutes into the final quarter provided the veteran
Peyton Manning with an opportunity to
make his mark on the game.
With the Steelers 13-12 ahead and driving
forward, the turnover momentarily sucked the energy from the Steelers and
lifted the spirits of the languid Broncos.
Manning took just three minutes to lead
his team on a drive of 65 yards that was finished with a one-yard touchdown run
from C.J. Anderson. The successful
two-points after pass to Demaryius
Thomas gave the Broncos a 20-13 lead.
With the leader who never knows when to
quit, Ben Roethlisberger valiantly
attempted to spur on his offense after the fateful setback.
In a frantic final three minutes with both
defenses dictating the pace, the teams could only exchange field goals as
Denver took a 23-16 victory that sees the number one AFC seed host a game next
Sunday against the second seed New
POST GAME COMMENTS FROM THE COACHES
“I think the wind was a big factor in the football field. It
really was. The ball was moving. We had, what, four or five drops in the first
half that could have been big plays. It made a difference, but we just kept our
poise, kept grinding. That’s what our team has been about all year.”
“I’ve got to start off by complimenting and congratulating the
Denver Broncos on a winning performance. We fought hard, just not enough today.
Came up a few plays short. Such is life. I just appreciate the efforts of our
football team. There can only be one, obviously, and this year it’s not us.”
Article by Gordon Dedman
From the euphoria of winning a game they
looked as though they had lost, Steeler fans have endured a week of injury
concerns that finally saw Antonio Brown
and DeAngelo Williams confirmed out
and Ben Roethlisberger listed as
questionable for Sunday’s game.
The Steelers chance of winning this
playoff game revolves around Roethlisberger’s participation. He practiced for
the first time Friday, after which Coach
Tomlin observed, “I thought it
was a productive day." If he
plays and can throw the ball effectively in Denver, they will have a great
chance to progress to the Conference Final.
If the Steelers are forced to turn to
backup Landry Jones, the chances of
the team advancing to the Championship game diminish. After his competent start
when he replaced the injured Roethlisberger earlier in the regular season,
Jones has found out just how difficult it is to be a quarterback in the NFL. He
has thrown an interception once every 12 pass attempts and if he replicates
that Sunday, the Steelers season will end.
With Brown out and doubts surrounding
Roethlisberger, the Steelers ground game needs to be at its best. The dual
threat of Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman will spearhead the
Steelers ground game while their other receivers will need to step up.
The Steelers defense can keep them in the
game and provide the opportunity for whoever leads the offense, but they must
contain Denver’s running game. The Steelers defense was ranked fifth against
the run during the regular season while the Broncos ground game was ranked 17th.
Running back Ronnie Hillman gained 117 in the Broncos last game when Peyton Manning came on midway through
the third quarter to close out the 27-20 win. That was Manning’s first
appearance since week 10 when he was benched suffering from a sore foot and rib
Despite doubts over his agility this
season, Manning has the experience to lead his team to a win providing his
offensive line protect him from the Steelers defense. The focus for Pittsburgh will
be to disrupt his timing. Manning has thrown 17 interceptions with seven
touchdowns this season before missing seven games.
The Broncos win the battle of stats. They
finished the regular season number one in total defense, number one in sacks,
number one in run defense, number one in pass defense and the team is the
number one seed in the AFC.
Having a bye week to rest while their
opponents were getting banged around ensures the Broncos will be fresh and
ready to play with their own dynamic duo receiving corps of Demaryius Thomas
and former Steeler Emmanuel Sanders.
The key for the Steelers is to stop the
Broncos’ running game and force Denver into third and long, making Manning pass
with the potential to pick him off.
As in every game, turnovers will have an
impact as was displayed in that amazing final two minutes in Cincinnati last weekend. These teams
are evenly balanced in forced fumbles, interceptions and sacks so once again it
is likely to be a tense defensive struggle and while the Broncos are the
probable winners, the Steelers can never be counted out.
Article by Gordon Dedman
I am glad that I am writing a review of
this game because I want to remember this battle for years to come. I expected
a tough fight, but the torrential rain turned the game into a Hollywood drama
with an ending that only a script writer could have conceived with the main
star emerging as a hero.
The ingredients for a classic playoff
game. Pittsburgh - a team with a
football tradition to uphold in Cincinnati
- a team with a playoff jinx to lay to rest. The twist in the tale saw a leader
on one side turn villain while the hero returned to produce the impossible and
save his team from defeat.
With the rain cascading down on the
players, the initial skirmishes were tentative with both teams probing for the
weak points of their opponents with scoring opportunities rare.
Missing DeAngelo Williams, the Steelers used Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan
Todman early to put their running game into gear.
Playing in his first playoff game, Cincinnati’s
AJ McCarron was hesitant, but the early
difference between the quarterbacks was McCarron’s interception. His deep pass in
the second quarter was underthrown in the wet and plucked out of the air by Anton Blake to set up a 39-yard field
goal that broke the deadlock.
As the second quarter finished, the
Steelers added another Chris Boswell
field goal from 30 yards to increase their lead to 6-0.
In that first half, both teams could only
convert one of their seven third downs, a reflection on the stagnant football being
played as the defenses held the upper hand in the atrocious conditions.
When the Bengals put a creditable drive
together at the beginning of the third period, it was brought to an abrupt end
with McCarron’s forced fumble that set the Steelers up for a field goal of 34
Antonio Brown caught a 60-yard pass in Pittsburgh’s
next series and his team capitalised on it when Ben Roethlisberger threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant. The catch, which will
make all the highlight reels, was a moment of magic as Bryant summersaulted to
complete the reception and increase Pittsburgh’s lead to 15-0 after failing
with the two points after attempt.
The frustration of playing in the
inclement conditions combined with the Bengals losing yet another playoff game gradually
turned adrenalin into aggression, particularly when Vontaze Burfict was on the field.
His crunching tackle of Roethlisberger as
the third period came to an end sent the quarterback into the locker room with
a shoulder injury and sparked the Bengals into life.
In a frantic final quarter, Cincinnati’s
play picked up intensity. When Will
Allen’s pass interference penalty placed the ball on the Steelers four-yard
line, Jeremy Hill’s run of 2 yards
put the Bengals first points on the board and the home crowd finally found
their voice as the cauldron that was Paul
Brown Stadium began to heat up.
Jones now at quarterback, Pittsburgh turned conservative and paid the price
giving up ten points as McCarron found his form including a 25-yard touchdown
pass to AJ Green giving his team a 16-15 lead.
With less than two minutes remaining, Steelers’
Markus Wheaton fumbled gifting
Cincinnati supreme field position on Pittsburgh’s 26-yard and the game at their
mercy. With the Bengals finally looking a playoff win in the eye, the Steelers
were facing the end of their season.
As the Bengals were taking time off the
clock with a 6-yard run from Hill, they began to self-destruct. Steeler’s
linebacker Ryan Shazier stripped the
ball and the turnover provided Pittsburgh with one final opportunity to snatch a
Enter the gladiator who had seen and done
it all before. Roethlisberger reappeared to guide his team into long field goal
range before two crass, unnecessary Bengals penalties, including a Burfict hit on Brown that produced a three game suspension,
moved the attempt into a chip shot for Boswell. His 35-yard field goal gave the
Steelers the 18-16 win.
The battered Steelers move to Denver next Sunday while the Bengals
spend a few months pondering on what could have been and why their aggression
turned to stupidity and cost them the game.
Article by Gordon Dedman
While each season the AFC North division play in the shadow of the AFC East and the New England
Patriots, the North still produces solid, blue collar football. Sunday will
showcase the division at its the best when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to the Cincinnati Bengals in
a winner takes all wildcard game.
I could produce every kind of stat that
will suggest this team or that team will win, but you can throw the stats out
of the window for this one. It will be a tense physical contest.
Before the regular season game in Cincinnati kicked off, these two
teams confirmed what this rivalry now means when they created quite a spat as
their pre-match warm up heated up. Apparently the NFL has warned both teams
against repeating the fracas this weekend, especially before a national
The winner Saturday night will be the team that holds its nerve in
the high pressure cauldron that will be Paul
Brown Stadium. I’m amazed to see the bookies make the Steelers favourites,
but is that because it appears to be men against boys with AJ McCarron as the Bengals quarterback?
Roethlisberger, the Steelers have one of the league’s premier quarterbacks
with the ability to turn a game in an instant. He can make unbelievable passes
and has the capability to thread the ball through a defense to his receivers. He can also throw interceptions.
Antonio Brown is Ben’s favourite receiver and has set
an NFL record this season by catching 135 passes for the second year running,
but the stats show that Antonio Brown has not scored a touchdown in the
playoffs. It’s the one accomplishment missing from his résumé while this month he became the first wide receiver to be honoured
as the AFC Offensive Player of the Month three times.
Turnovers will again be the key. McCarron hasn’t thrown an
interception in 83 pass attempts since he threw two against the Steelers when making
his debut for the injured Andy Dalton
in Week 14. McCarron has made his mark as the first Bengals quarterback not to have
thrown an interception in their first three starts.
McCarron has been taught not to give the ball away to his opponent
and the tutelage is obviously working for the youngster while Ben
Roethlisberger has thrown two interceptions in each of his last three games.
As Steelers linebacker Arthur
Moats observed, “I feel like as long as we play our game, don’t turn the ball over, and
create turnovers, we match up with any team.”
Cincinnati’s Pro Bowl
safety Reggie Nelson offered, “It
should be one hell of a game. The last game (December 13) was a terrible one
for us, and this time we want to make it a good one. I think a lot of people
are going to enjoy this.”
I think the neutrals might just be hoping he’s right. It’s going
to be a tough demanding game and should advertise the quality of football in
As I write there are a couple of unknowns, besides who is going to
win. It looks unlikely that either DeAngelo Williams for the Steelers or Andy
Dalton for the Bengals will play, but if they do it is possible they could make
Article by Gordon Dedman
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
This game wasn’t as straightforward for
the Steelers as the score line reflects. Although Pittsburgh took a 14-9 lead
at the half, they didn’t find the going easy against a team with only three
victories on the season.
The Browns totally dominated the second and
third quarters in time of possession, but failed to transfer that superiority into
points. They could only kick two field goals while the Steelers manged to put
together one drive of eighty yards in six plays that took just 58 seconds
finishing with Antonio Brown’s
17-yard touchdown catch.
Two Cleveland fumbles in the final period
helped the Steelers to add eleven points and take a 28-12 victory that earned them
the sixth seed wildcard spot with the Jets losing in Buffalo. As expected, the
poor season for the Browns saw them part ways with their head coach Mike Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer.
Since the seventies, Pittsburgh fans have
never known the barren years that Browns fans have experienced. Cleveland fans
would die for a 10-6 record while Steeler fans believe nothing less than a Super Bowl win completes a season.
The major concern for the Steelers was DeAngelo Williams going off with an
ankle injury. Pittsburgh’s playoff progress was dashed last season with an
injury to Le’Veon Bell, which is why
they brought Williams in. If absent next weekend, it could affect their ability
to overcome the division champions.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
The Ravens were rewarded with only
three field goals as they dictated the opening half of this game while Cincinnati
struck late with Tyler Eifert’s
thirteenth touchdown for the season.
In the final two quarters, the
Bengals and AJ McCarron found their
feet aided by two Ryan Mallett interceptions.
The Bengals added touchdowns from AJ
Green and Jeremy Hill plus a
field goal to take the 24-16 win. With Denver’s
defeat of San Diego, Cincinnati
finished as the AFC’s third seed to host the Steelers.
great matchup and a great rivalry and we are excited," said
McCarron looking forward to the wildcard game. "We are just excited about
getting to play in the playoffs, especially a game at home, and to make the
most of it."
Most Cincinnati fans will be
hoping that Andy Dalton returns from
injury, but it won’t be any bonus if his broken thumb hasn’t healed properly.