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Bengals-Colts AFC wild-card preview

1/1/2015
AP Photo

Andy Dalton and Andrew Luck square off in the AFC wild-card round on Sunday.The Cincinnati Bengals will need to exorcise a lot of playoff demons to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday’s wild-card matchup.

The Bengals have lost their past six playoff games dating back to 1990, but that’s only the start of it.

Top stats to know

The Bengals’ six-game playoff losing streak is the third-longest active streak behind the Chiefs' (eight games) and Lions' (seven).

The Bengals are 0-6 all time in road playoff games. The Texans (0-2) are the only other team without a road playoff win.

Worst coaching record in postseason history

Head coach Marvin Lewis is 0-5 in his playoff career. Only Jim Mora (0-6) has more losses without a win in the playoffs in NFL history. Lewis and Mora are also the only two coaches to lose their first five playoff games.

Quarterback Andy Dalton is 0-3 in his playoff career. Y.A. Tittle is the only quarterback in NFL history to lose his first four playoff starts.

The Bengals also have the second-worst record (1-5) in the history of the wild-card round (since 1978). Only the Lions (0-6) have been worse.

As for the Colts, they’ve won their past seven home games against the Bengals dating back to 1997, including a 27-0 shutout victory this season. Boomer Esiason and Jeff Blake played quarterback the last time the Bengals won in Indianapolis (defeating Colts QB Kelly Holcomb).

Matchups to watch

Dalton’s playoff struggles vs. Luck’s playoff struggles

As previously noted, Dalton is 0-3 in his playoff career, but his struggles go beyond wins and losses.

Andy Dalton in the playoffs

Dalton has a Total QBR of 17.5 in his postseason career, which is the worst by any quarterback since he entered the NFL in 2011. Dalton’s performance has actually gotten worse each postseason, as he posted a 25.1 Total QBR in his playoff debut and has bottomed out at a Total QBR of 14.2 in the 2013 postseason.

Andrew Luck is 1-2 in his playoff career but has trailed by at least 15 points in each game.

Luck has thrown eight interceptions in his first three playoff games. Only one quarterback in NFL history (Frank Filchock, 13 interceptions from 1940-46) threw more interceptions in his first three playoff games.

Bengals vs. third down

The Colts' defense was second-best in the NFL on third down this season, allowing opponents to convert 33.3 percent of the time. (The Bills were best at 33.2 percent.) In Week 7, the Bengals went just 1-of-13 on third down against the Colts.

The Bengals were shut out in that game and limited to 135 yards of offense and 20:17 in time of possession. All of those totals were the worst for the Bengals since they were shut out by the Jets in Week 17 of 2009.

The Bengals didn’t commit a turnover in Week 7 against the Colts but instead punted on 11 of their 14 drives, with 10 of those punts coming after three plays.

As a result, the Bengals didn’t run a play in Colts territory until 10:46 of the fourth quarter. On Sunday, if the Bengals can move the ball and get into the red zone, they could test a defense that allowed a touchdown on an NFL-high 66 percent of red zone drives this season.

Did you know?

The Bengals and Colts have met in the postseason once before, and it was the first game played between the two teams.

The Baltimore Colts, led by Johnny Unitas, defeated the Bengals 17-0 in the 1970 divisional round en route to winning Super Bowl V.