Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
By clinching a second consecutive playoff berth, Bengals fans see a change in the AFC North dynamic.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers knew what was at stake in their Week 16 matchup, and certainly so did the fans. For Bengals fans, the eventual 13-10 victory might have done much more than clinch a playoff spot for the Bengals, to fans it symbolized the end of an era categorized by a constant disadvantage against AFC North opponents.
The guys over at Cincy Jungle examined the "shedding" of the "psychological" problems the Bengals had faced before this win and saw a change in the dynamic between the two teams moving forward.
... For the Bengals, shedding the skin of a psychological disadvantage building among core players highlighting a young movement designed to change perceptions.
And they did. Though not easily.
Certainly, the bloggers weren't impressed with everything in the rough and tumble victory, especially early, when the old problems of the season continued to rear their head — especially conservatism that frustrated deeply.
It was an offensive gameplan that idealized conservative check-down passes, short hitch-routes and rainbow bombs down the sidelines that often had no probability for completion, with nothing threatening anything in the 15-20 yard range.
Finally, it was a pass from quarterback Andy Dalton to A.J. Green — two of the members of the "young movement" Cincy Jungle is so excited about, that helped to lock down the Bengals return to the postseason for a second consecutive year.
In perhaps the most critical play in his career, Andy Dalton gently guides an intermediate out, where A.J. Green hauled in the 21-yard reception near the right sidelines at the Steelers 25-yard line. Josh Brown, with my heart pounding and soiled pants drooling, connects with the game winning 43-yard field goal, beating the Steelers 13-10.