Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wrap-up: Bengals 34, Chargers 20
By James Walker
Here are some thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' victory over the San Diego Chargers:
What it means: It means the Bengals have won two in a row and improved to 4-11 on the season. The win by Cincinnati also knocks San Diego (8-7) out of playoff contention. The Bengals suffered an NFL-high 10-game losing streak earlier this year but is doing a solid job of finishing strong. This may have been the last home game in Cincinnati for several key members of the organization, and if that's the case, they left Paul Brown Stadium on a good note.
What I liked: The Bengals continue to fight in December despite the season being over long ago. This was a game dominated by Cincinnati's younger players, particularly third-year receiver Jerome Simpson, who had a breakout game. Simpson set new career highs with six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. The former second-round pick is finally starting to show his skills in the past two weeks and is making a strong case to play a bigger role in 2011. The Bengals finished the game with 21 points in the fourth quarter.
What I didn't like: The Bengals played a very good game, so these are minor critiques. But Cincinnati starting running back Cedric Benson fumbled for the seventh time this year. This time it didn't hurt the Bengals. Cincinnati also had six penalties for 57 yards, compared to one penalty for San Diego.
What's next: The Bengals will go to Baltimore next week to try and play spoiler again against the Ravens. Cincinnati swept Baltimore last season and also beat the Ravens in Week 2. Baltimore may be playing for the AFC North title and a first-round bye, depending on the outcome of the Pittsburgh Steelers' game in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns.