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Lewis Kicks the Bengals Right Out of the Game

Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh falls into the end zone for a touchdown reception 

In a game between bitter rivals, the Bengals needed a spark to get themselves back in the game already trailing the Steelers 14-3.  Instead, all they got was a kick.  That kick came in the form of a short Shayne Graham field goal that ended a long drive that could have been the turning point in the game for the Bengals.  In hindsight, it was the turning point.

Instead of going for it on 4th and short from just outside the Steelers 2-yard-line, the Bengals instead kicked it, and with it the boo birds were out in full force at Paul Brown Stadium.  The Steelers took the next drive, did what they did all day, which was drive down the field 67 yards and score, and put the game basically away at the half leading 21-6. 

Coach Marvin Lewis is going to take a lot of heat for going for the field goal instead of the touchdown, but right now it’s just what the Bengals are.  A team that has lacked that fire all season, and a team yesterday that had their own coach take a golden opportunity to make something happen away from them.  Lewis knew right away in the postgame that going for the kick was not a good move.  “In hindsight, we probably should go for it on fourth down rather than take the (three) points, but I didn’t anticipate them driving down and getting a touchdown before halftime,” Lewis said.

He should have, as the Steelers used that solid offense balance that the Bengals have lacked all season.  With Willie Parker putting up yards in bunches, and Ben Roethlisberger and his wide outs and check downs making plays, the Bengals defense was again, no match for the black and gold.  “It’s just embarrassing to lose like that at home,” defensive end Bryan Robinson said. “I don’t know if you can really call it a rivalry when they’re kicking your butt all the time, especially at your place.”

At least on this day, the players know how their coaches feel when it comes to pressure situations on offense – they don’t trust them.  “It’s kind of like when you tell a kid, ‘You can have some candy,’ and then be like, ‘Nah, not right now,’ ” receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said.  If not now – when?      

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