INDIANAPOLIS - Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who watched his post-season record dip to 0-6, said he'll be back next year.
"That's my plan," Lewis said after Sunday's 26-10 loss to the Colts in an AFC Wild Card Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. "It's not about me. I'm talking about our football team, wherever our football team is. Obviously every year you create a new football team and that's part of it unfortunately. Tomorrow is not promised for anyone and so that's part of the life in the NFL and what these guys have in the finality of losing when you lose in the playoffs.
"We've got a good core. Obviously we got depleted," Lewis said. "That's part of it, though. Guys got game experience through this. It's a learning experience for some to always be ready and move on to the next guy. We've done a good job of that. But today it wasn't quite enough." ...
At the end of the day, Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth probably summed up the offensive line's problem without wide receiver A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham allowing the Colts to crowd the box.
"It's going to be an uphill battle," Whitworth said. "When you don't have any tight ends and you have to use linemen, now you make it obvious (it's a run play) and they can roll to you even more because they're not really worried about (guard Mike) Pollak and (tackle Marshall) Newhouse catching passes. You're trying to knock them off and play high school football a little bit.
"If you're playing defense and you're playing against an offense that just lost its top weapons before the game, we're just fighting our tails off as an offensive line."
Green was ruled out on Saturday with a concussion and Gresham (back) tried to go in pregame after he had an epidural shot.
Bengals kicker Mike Nugent thinks his 57-yard field goal that cut the Colts' lead to 13-10 is the biggest moment of his 10 seasons in the NFL. If not, then last year's 54-yarder that won it in Detroit. But this was the longest kick in Bengals history and gave his team a real shot of hope. Of course, he and holder Kevin Huber had to coax it through, first.
"Kevin was talking to it a little bit. I was talking to it a little bit," Nugent said. "Just hang on because it had a little bit of a draw to it. It started center and it just had that draw on it. I saw it hit the upright. It seemed like it still went forward, but I was looking at the refs to make sure."
That kick ended the half and then the Bengals got the ball to start the second half and, "I just thought we stole three points." ...
For the third time in four post-season games, quarterback Andy Dalton didn't throw a TD pass. His 63.4 passer rating wasn't as good as the 67 in last year's loss to San Diego and it wasn't as bad as the 51.4 or 44.7 in the losses in Houston. He also didn't have his top two targets this trip, but his 51.4 completion percentage was the worst of the four games.
So, he'll continue to get the heat.
"I thought Andy played a good football game, so I don't know what kind of criticism will be on the quarterback here. I thought he hung in there," Lewis said. " thought he made plays with his feet. I thought he made plays throwing the football, and I thought he played a good football game. He didn't, as far as I know, he didn't turn the football over. I thought he avoided the rush and came up, stepped up in the pocket and delivered footballs.
"He's going to be disappointed because we didn't win, but I think he did a good job at doing his part today, and that's all we can ask of any of the guys. You're not going to make any super human plays. He's got to get the ball out there. He got the ball down there and out there, and we've got to make some plays as well, we've got to pick him up as well." ...
It took Colts quarterback Andrew Luck to wipe 49ers quarterback Joe Montana out of the Bengals record book Sunday when his 376 yards became the most passing yards ever against the Bengals in a post-season game. Montana set the record of 357 in his epic Super Bowl XXIII performance on Jan. 22, 1989. Luck's 31 completions were also the most against the Bengals, breaking the record of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the 2012 Wild Card Game in Houston.