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Bengals hit forward button

A.J. Green

They weren't filming "The Hangover" Monday at Paul Brown Stadium. They were putting together a remake of "The Philadelphia Story" as the Bengals prepared for the quick turnaround of Thursday night's road trip (8:20 p.m.-NFL Network) to play the Eagles.

Head coach Marvin Lewis held a glorified walkthrough inside a chilly, high 30ish-degree Paul Brown Stadium with his players in sweats. It capped a grueling 24 hours that began when the coaches headed back upstairs to their offices to begin work on the Eagles with fans still walking out of PBS and Dan Bailey's at-the-gun 40-yard field goal seemingly still in the net.

"After the game, nobody went home. Nobody went to dinner. I think we were all up there breaking down film," said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. "We had to go back to work on Philly. We still have everything we want within reach. We don't have any room for error. We have to go out and play well the last three weeks against three great opponents."

Position coaches like wide receivers coach James Urban didn't watch film of Sunday's 20-19 fourth-quarter loss to Dallas with his players like they usually do on Monday.

"This is like a Thursday," Urban said after practice. "The players all have it on their iPads. We talked about it. We addressed it. But it's on to Philadelphia."

The players seemed to appreciate the thought. Quarterback Andy Dalton had a sneak peek at the Eagles last week, but he didn't want to watch much because he didn't want to get confused.

"If there's a time to have one, now's definitely a good time. We can get that taste out of our mouth quick, we can get back playing quick, so I think it's good to have a week like this now," Dalton said after the workout. "It just comes down to the preparation. You've got to prepare a lot quicker; you've got to watch a lot more stuff earlier in the week because you're going to be playing a lot sooner. I think that's just what it comes down to, getting ready, make sure everybody physically is better, getting the rest that you need. From there it just comes down to preparation, making sure you know the game plan going in."

Lewis delivered his message with ease. The Bengals can't get into the playoffs without winning the next one, never mind the final two of Pittsburgh on the road Dec. 23 and Baltimore at PBS on Dec. 30.

"The good thing is we're one of maybe 15 teams that are playing for something," Gruden said. "We still had to win the last three anyway in my opinion and we still do. It's a learning experience and we have to move forward and look to Philly."

But that didn't stop Gruden from doing what everyone from right guard Kevin Zeitler to defensive back Nate Clements to franchise player A.J. Green was doing: beating himself up.

Gruden had to deal with the question about why he didn't give the ball more to running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis after he gained 89 yards on just 12 carries and didn't get a lug on a last series the Bengals were up 19-17 with 6:35 left. And after two short passes, they had a first down with 5:32 left.

But with Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo on the other side, Gruden was thinking touchdown.

"There's so much time to milk the clock. They had two timeouts and five minutes left when we had the ball," Gruden said. "I think it was important to get down there and move the ball and (at least) get a field goal. Use as much clock as we can, but to milk the clock there? I don't think so. Granted, we'd like to get the three first downs on the ground and run the clock out. We're up two. Even a field goal. If you give them two minutes to score with Tony Romo, I've watched him enough on television and tape to know that's not a safe play, either. I was trying to score to put it up nine and put it out of reach.

"This guy's a hell of a player. He's got some great weapons over there and our defense was playing great. I thought seven was much important than three."

But on Monday, Gruden was thinking more about blocking Philadelphia's great veteran end Trent Cole than Romo. And while Urban was running through the Eagles secondary, he did allow himself to show Green some cutups Monday. He's got video of great wide receivers like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson dropping balls like Green did Sunday in two crucial situations.

"It happens," Urban said. "We don't want it to happen. But when it does, you move on."

Urban also had another clip for Green. It will be recalled that early in the fourth quarter Green-Ellis ripped off a 48-yard run that got shaved to 38 when Green was called for a block in the back.

First of all, it's a pleasure for Lewis to be around wide receivers that get that close to a blocker to be called for a penalty on a downfield run. Never mind his best player. Second of all, the flag was slightly later than a Thanksgiving card. And it surprised Green.

"Benny was already out-of-bounds," Green said.

Urban shrugged and wouldn't say.

"He was hustling, trying to catch up and get on the right guy," Urban said. "That's one of those, next time in that situation, maybe he won't put his hands on him. But he was hustling to get into the play."

So Urban allowed himself to share another video with Green.

"Larry Fitzgerald busting it down the field 80 yards to get the block," Urban said, "and he got called for pretty much the exact same thing."

But it was Thursday at PBS, not Monday. No hangover.

"No time," Urban said. "The only time we've got we have to use on Philadelphia and not anything else."

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