Bengals On Brink Of Postseason

Image courtesy of Lyons/Getty Images
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton needs to fire against the Eagles. Image courtesy of Lyons/Getty Images
Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have hogged the headlines as far as rookie quarterbacks go this season, but in just his fourth NFL start, Philadelphia’s Nick Foles engineered the Eagles’ first win in two months as they came from behind to snap their streak against Tampa Bay in a last-play thriller at the weekend.

Foles threw for 381 yards, and tossed two touchdown passes in the final four minutes, including a one-yard strike to Jeremy Maclin as time expired. The 23-21 win ended Philly’s eight-game losing run, the franchise’s worst in 42 years. The Eagles’ four wins have now come by a combined six points. Foles – who also ran for a TD against the Bucs – will start the final three games despite Michael Vick passing a concussion test.

Foles connected with Maclin on nine occasions for 104 yards against Tampa Bay, and he’s likely to be the focus again on Friday morning (AEDT) with veteran tight end Brent Celek to miss the game with concussion. Rookie running back Bryce Brown came back to Earth with a thud after two standout games, running for just 12 yards on six carries against the Bucs. Backfield star LeSean McCoy could return after missing the past three matches, which was also due to a concussion.

The Eagles are well and truly out of playoff contention, but if Cincinnati misses the postseason, the Bengals will look back to the weekend’s 20-19 defeat by Dallas as the one that got away. Riding a wave of emotion after the death of practice squad member Jerry Brown the day before, the Cowboys kicked a last-second field goal to leave the Bengals tied with Pittsburgh on a 7-6 record. Prior to that match, Cinci hadn’t allowed its previous four opponents to score more than 13 points, and it wasn’t looking any different for Dallas until Tony Romo engineered two big fourth quarter drives which led to points. It would have been the Bengals’ sixth straight win if they’d made it over the line.

Gun Cinci receiver A.J. Green was held to just three receptions against Dallas, and after going nine straight games with a TD, he hasn’t found the end zone in his past three starts. His hands let him down last weekend, too, and with QB Andy Dalton struggling the past fortnight, he’ll need to get a grip on things if his team is to make a late season charge.

These teams last played in 2008 when they fought out a 13-all tie , while the Bengals won the previous encounter in 2005 by 28 points .

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