The Bengals lost to the Houston Texans 20-19 despite facing Houston's third string quarterback, leading at halftime 16-3, and leading 19-10 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Most people would point to the TJ Yates to Kevin Walter touchdown pass with 2 seconds left that lost the game, but there was a moment in the third quarter where the Bengals could've easily put away the game and literally botched it.
Arian Foster fumbled on Houston's own 20. Geno Atkins recovered and returned it the 10, but then fumbled it himself. With two Bengals converging on the now loose ball, one of which has been identified as Reggie Nelson, both tried to pick up and run with the ball rather than falling on it like they teach you in Pop Warner. The two Bengals knocked the ball away from one another and into the arms of a Houston Texan.
So deep in Houston territory, at worst it would've given the Bengals a field goal and a 12 point lead. At best, a touchdown and a 16 point lead.
2 The Bengals playoff Chances May be Sunk.
That measily one point may end up keeping the Bengals from playing in the postseason. A win would've given them an 8-5 record instead of the 7-6 mark they now sport.
The loss dropped them 1 game back of a playoff spot with three to play. It'll likely require victories in the last 3 games to get to 10-6 if they want to make the playoffs. Even then they'll probably need some help with losses by the Jets, Titans, and Raiders.
The last three games consist of a road battle against the hapless Rams and then two home dates with the Cardinals and Ravens. 3-0 in those three games is entirely possible, but you never know in the NFL. The Rams beat New Orleans earlier this season, the Cardinals are 6-1 in their last 7, and the Ravens are the Ravens (though by week 17 they could be resting starters).
The Bengals have never finished strong in the Marvin Lewis era, and they're 1-4 in their last 5. At this point I'm not even confident they'll finish above 8-8.
3. Standard Weekend for the Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets went 0-1-1 on Thursday and Saturday nights. On Thursday it looked like they were gonna cruise to a 3-1 victory over rival Nashville. That is, until they went into Scott Arniel's awesome prevent defense. The Predators cut the deficit to 1 with a goal with 1:25 left in the game. Sammy Pahlsson took a penalty that can only be described as stupid, and Nashville tied the game with 12 seconds left. Before the Blue Jackets could settle themselves into overtime, the Preds ended it with a Colin Wilson goal. A two point W turned into 1 point L in the span of about 5 minutes.
On Saturday, before a packed Nationwide Arena the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the defending Stanley Cup champions. Boston scored twice within a minute just before the first period ended. Zdeno Chara then gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead with one of his hyperspeed slapshots. Then this happened:
Not only was Derek Dorsett injured, which is a shame because he's been on fire lately, playing the best hockey of his career, but they also called him for goaltender interference. Let me point out that he was the puck carrier, Tim Thomas iniated contact, AND Thomas was out of the crease. It's the worst call I've ever seen in 24 years of watching hockey. In that clip you can hear Boston's Jack Edwards. Edwards is notorious for his homerrific play-by-play tendencies so if Jack Edwards thought it was a bad call, it's a horrible call.
RJ Umberger evened the game at 3 late in the 2nd, but Boston would net 2 goals in the third for a 5-3 win. It was a wild raucous energy in the building which made for a fun night, but it was not a fun outcome.
The Blue Jackets can play with the NHL's best, but it's hard when they hurt themselves by not controlling better in-game momentum swings, and when the officials so consistently favor the other side.
That's three things.