Updated: 6:35 p.m.
When Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons graded the tape Monday, it was passable. Except for two plays that came up "F" and contributed heavily to Sunday's 20-17 loss in Oakland.
Shayne Graham's four field goals and rookie running back Bernard Scott's 96-yard kick return for a touchdown fueled last week's huge win in Pittsburgh. Mirroring the inability of the entire team on Sunday to keep that AFC North vibe going, Graham's missed 37-yard field goal that would have given the Bengals a 20-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter and kick returner Andre Caldwell's gift fumble at the Bengals 17 with 27 seconds left that gave Oakland the winning points were just as big this Sunday.
Graham's miss has Simmons perplexed because the snap was good and the hold was good.
"But he pushed it," he said of the kick that sailed right at the last instant. "That was a big play in the game. We needed those points."
Since Graham is the fourth most accurate kicker off all time, he'll be back Sunday kicking against the Browns. Whether Caldwell is going to continue to spell Scott on kicks remains to be seen. It was Caldwell's second fumble on a return this season, the other an almost as fatal miscue in Cleveland that gave the Browns a 17-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter in a game the Bengals needed all but the last four seconds of overtime to win.
"It's something I've got to look at this week," Simmons said. "It can't happen. It's something he's got to pay attention to. I think on that one, he's got to keep running instead of stopping and trying to make something happen."
Other than that, Simmons was pleased with the play of rookie punter Kevin Huber and rookie punt returner Quan Cosby. Cosby had an 18-yarder and a 20-yarder negated by a hold called on linebacker Rashad Jeanty, and Huber wheeled out another solid punt with one foot an inch from the back line of his end zone for the second straight week.
But because of a high snap from Clark Harris, Huber didn't get a chance to pin the Raiders on his last punt with 2:20 left from his own 48. After hauling it down, Huber had to hurry and it bounced into the end zone for a touchback.
"We need a better snap. It needs to get corrected, and quickly," Simmons said. "But we made the play because Kevin did a great job catching it and then being able to get it out of there."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko, who left Sunday's game in Oakland with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the third quarter, said Monday he is day-to-day and might be able to play like he did last month. Peko sprained the MCL in his left knee against the Texans and returned the next week to play against the Bears. Although the club is preparing a brace for him, he says this injury doesn't feel as bad so he's confident he'll be able to play this week.
» But with Peko a question mark, don't look for the Bengals to make a move for veteran wide receiver Joey Galloway. They're probably going to have to get another D-lineman (Orien Harris?) in here.
» Head coach Marvin Lewis spoke about injuries generally Monday and said the Bengals would have a chance for some players that have missed games to return this upcoming Sunday against the Browns. WILL linebacker Keith Rivers (calf) and left guard Evan Mathis (ankle) could be back. The Bengals are going to be slow about getting running back Cedric Benson back. He has looked good, but they have to cut Benson loose to see if there is still pain in the sore hip muscle. They want to make sure he's 100 percent before doing it because they don't want it to become a nagging thing.
» Lewis did say if Benson can't go, Larry Johnson would play more than his two snaps of Sunday.
» If the aforementioned injured players play, there is a good chance they will be playing in front of a sellout. Bengals ticket manager Andrew Brown said Monday the possibility "looks good" that the Bengals will extend their sellout streak to 50 straight games when Cleveland comes to Paul Brown Stadium.
» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth thinks the Bengals will be in a bitter mood next Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium against the Browns because of the mistakes of last Sunday.
"We need to take it out on somebody," Whitworth said.
» Right end Jon Fanene believes the Bengals will start to hear a "here-they-go-again" cry from the critics.
"We don't believe in talking, the rumors, all that media," Fanene said. "We have a great group of guys that want to work, want to win. The staff is going to prepare us for next week. We're going to win this game. We're going to (sweep) the division. I guarantee that. It's going to be a win. I promise."
» Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski has no regrets giving the ball to fullback Jeremi Johnson in the red zone with 11:31 left in the game. According to Elias Sports Bureau it was his first fumble since 2005. That was his 40th touch since 2006.