CINCINNATI - The Bengals know they flubbed a chance to put themselves in better shape for a playoff berth, and now there is a greater urgency to beat the Eagles on Thursday at the Linc.
Penalties. Dropped passes. A game-turning interception. A defensive letdown at the end. They reviewed all of those on Monday as they did a fast-forward to their next game.
A 20-19 loss to Dallas Cowboys on Sunday left the Bengals tied with Pittsburgh at 7-6 for the second AFC wild card. The Steelers and the AFC North-leading Ravens (9-4) both lost on Sunday, giving Cincinnati an opening to improve its chances. Instead, the Bengals gave up 10 points in the closing minutes, ending their four-game win streak.
"We have the opportunity to still control our own end, from now until the end," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We still have an opportunity to win the division. We still have an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs in a couple of ways. That's all we can ask for."
After playing the Eagles, the Bengals' season is likely to come down to the following week, when they play at Pittsburgh.
"I'm not the biggest fan of Thursday games, but I think it does [help]," cornerback Leon Hall said. "You don't have Monday, Tuesday to sit around and think about it, the would've, could've, should've type of things. We're already on to the Philly game plan."