Posted on: December 15, 2008 1:21 am

CIN/WAS Footnote: goal-line stand. BAL/PIT

I didn't want to close the book on today's Bengals versus Redskins matchup without giving the Bengals' defense one more pat on the back.

A little more than midway through the third quarter, with the score 17-10 Bengals, the Redskins had the ball second-and-goal at the Bengals'  1 yard line. Mike Sellers ran the ball up the middle into a pile of players with 6:27 left in the quarter for what looked to be a touchdown. But wait! Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who has typically been hesitant to throw the challenge flag this season, dropped one to challenge whether Sellers had broken the plane of the goal with the ball before he was down on the play. After consideration, the ruling was reversed, with the referee saying Sellers' knee was down before he extended the ball over the goal line. The Redskins went to third-and-goal at the 1/4-yard line.

On third down, the Redskins ran Sellers up the middle again, into a pile of players again, and, in the process of descending through that pile of players, still working to find the goal line, the ball was literally taken out of Sellers' hands by Bengals' linebacker Corey Mays. A fumble, turnover and touchback was ruled for the Bengals. But wait! Redskins head coach Jim Zorn challenged this ruling, believing the ball had broken the plane of the goal before Mays took the ball out of Sellers' hands. The call on the field was upheld, and the Bengals took over on their own 20.

In the fourth quarter, the teams would trade field goals, but that would be the rest of the scoring for the game. If not for the goal line stand, this game could have gone to overtime. Congrats to the Bengals' defense on the first goal-line stand. Congrats to the D on the second goal-line stand and particularly to Corey Mays for the takeaway. Congrats to the officials for getting the calls right on both plays. And congrats to Marvin Lewis for winning two challenges today, including this one.

Around the AFC North . . .

Steelers versus Ravens -- This game was all it was billed to be. These two teams beat each others' brains out for a full 60 minutes, with the Steelers coming out on top 13-9, after a controversial call on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes with less than a minute left in the game. With the win, the Steelers nab their second consecutive AFC North championship, grab a first-round playoff bye, and force the Ravens to continue their fight for a wild card bid. The Steelers travel to play the Titans next Sunday, and the Ravens play the Cowboys at Dallas in a Saturday night matchup.

Browns versus Eagles -- The Browns line up against the Eagles in Philadelphia in the Monday night matchup.

Posted on: November 30, 2008 9:59 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2008 9:08 pm

Ravens piledrive Bengals 34-3

Fellow blogger BigBluMasochist was right. In my preview blog, I pointed out I thought the line on today's Bengals vs. Ravens game -- Ravens by 7 -- was fair. BigBlu suggested 7 was too generous, that Ravens by 8 1/2 or 9 would be more realistic. Turns out we both seriously underestimated the beating the Ravens had in store for the home team. The Ravens (8-4) bested the Bengals (1-10-1) by almost four times what BigBlu suggested.

The final score of today's debacle was 34-3. Only a Shayne Graham field goal at the end of the first half kept the Bengals from laying a goose egg. This was the lowest number of points scored by the Bengals all year. A stat pointed out late in the second half by fellow poster huberh3 over on the Official Support Group for Bengals thread pretty much sums up how the game went: "with 1:35 left in the second quarter, the defense has more tackles and assists (47) than the offense has yards (40)."

A Bengals' washout -- Ryan Fitzpatrick was 12 of 31 for 124 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Fitz was also sacked three times. T.J. Houshmandzadeh provided the best offensive effort with four catches for 64 yards, but still a poor game for him, particularly since one catch accounted for 46 of those 64 yards. Chad Ocho Cinco had four catches for 45 yards. Fitz provided most of the rushing in this game, too, with three carries for 29 yards, followed by Cedric Benson's effort of 10 carries for 17 yards, one carry of which accounted for seven yards. The Bengals had a total 155 yards of offense for the game.

In an apt footnote, third-string quarterback Jordan Palmer came in on the team's last two posessions of the game. Palmer was 0 for 2, got sacked once and gave up an interception to Jim Leonhard, which Leonhard ran back 36 yards for a touchdown.

On the bright side for the Bengals, Brandon Johnson got a sack and a half, and Chris Crocker got the other half sack. Dhani Jones was credited with a forced fumble. The defense played well again until being beaten down by too much time on the field and a potent balanced offensive attack by the Ravens. The Bengals were only able to muster six first downs the entire game.

Ravens dominate -- That's the only way to put it. The Ravens put up just over 450 yards in total offense, nearly three times as much as the Bengals. Joe Flacco was 19 for 29 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Clayton had one of his best games of the year, with five catches for 164 yards and one touchdown. To top off his day, Clayton threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason, who had six catches total for 91 yards and the TD. Five different Ravens rushers contributed to a total of 147 yards for the day, with Le'Ron McClain leading the way, getting 25 carries for 86 yards. Ray Rice had 11 carries for 41 yards. Todd Heap had a four-yard catch for a TD. Kicker Matt Stover rounded out the scoring with two field goals.

While the Ravens' offense was busy wearing out the Bengals' defense, their defense was making life difficult for their opposition, as well. Today was the 31st game the Ravens did not give up a 100-yard individual rushing performance. The Ravens' defensive line was in Fitz' face all day, clogging up the running lanes and keeping their hands up to cut down his lines of sight.

With the win, the Ravens took another step toward the playoffs. They are keeping pace in the AFC Wild Card race and are breathing down the Steelers' necks.

Next for the Bengals is a trip up Interstate 74 to visit the Colts in Indianapolis. As I stated over on the Official Support Group thread, I can't wait to see the line on this one!

Around the AFC North . . .

Browns -- Speaking of the Colts (8-4), the Browns (4-8) made it interesting, but could not stave off a late Colts' comeback when defensive end Robert Mathis returned a Derek Anderson fumble 37 yards for a touchdown about five minutes into the fourth quarter. Before the score, Cleveland had been up 6-3 since the second quarter. The final score was 10-6.

QB Anderson sustained a sprained MCL in his left knee late in today's game, which may put him out for the rest of the year. With Brady Quinn already done for the year with a broken right index finger, Cleveland will turn to third-string QB Ken Dorsey next Sunday, when the team travels to meet the Titans. Dorsey went 0-for-3 with an interception after coming in today for Anderson. The Titans (11-1) will seek to solidify a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Steelers -- The Steelers (9-3) made the statement they sought to make today against the Patriots (7-5), laying a 33-10 pounding on the Pats. The vaunted Steelers defense had four takeaways -- two interceptions and two fumbles -- and five sacks.

Pittsburgh hosts the 8-4 Cowboys for a 4:15 p.m. game next Sunday, with the Cowboys coming off of a 34-9 drubbing of the Seahawks and looking to continue their playoff drive.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com