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Posted Yesterday, 11:56 PM

Rapid Reaction: Cincinnati Bengals
December, 22, 2014
Dec 22
11:52
PM ET
By Coley Harvey | ESPN.com
CINCINNATI -- A few thoughts on the Cincinnati Bengals' 37-28 victory over the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on "Monday Night Football:"

What it means: First and foremost, this win means the Bengals are now in the playoffs. This is the first time in franchise history they've been to the postseason four straight seasons. At worst, they would be the fifth- or sixth-seeded wild card. At best, they could be the AFC's No. 2 seed. They'll need a win next week at Pittsburgh and a Broncos loss or tie in order for that to happen. With this nationally-televised win, the Bengals began silencing the narrative that they simply don't show up in prime time. They are now 3-6 at night since Andy Dalton became their starting quarterback in 2011. After posting a 2.0 passer rating in their Thursday night loss to Cleveland last month, Dalton had an 89.6.

Stock watch: It's safe to say cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick's stock is rising. After occupying a spot on the Bengals' bench for most of the season, he came off at the right moment against the Broncos. With 12-year veteran Terence Newman struggling in the third quarter, Bengals coaches turned to their third-year backup to make plays and to keep receiver Demaryius Thomas, among others, in check. Kirkpatrick did even better than that, coming away with two pivotal interceptions in the final three minutes. His 30-yard interception return for touchdown with 2:41 remaining extended the Bengals' score for the win.

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How the Bengals could be the AFC's 2-seed
December, 22, 2014
Dec 22
5:20
PM ET
By Coley Harvey | ESPN.com

 

CINCINNATI -- There's something else on the line when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Denver Broncos on ESPN's "Monday Night football" that's barely been mentioned this week.

The AFC's 2-seed.

It's quite possible that if the heaviest of dominoes fall not only Monday night but also next week, the Bengals could end up having the opening round of the playoffs off.

 

http://espn.go.com/blog/cincinnati-bengals/

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