Colts nose tackle Josh Chapman said he did indeed touch running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis before he got to the goal line on a fourth-and-one run with 1:06 left in the first half. But referee Jeff Triplette overturned the ruling on the field to give the Bengals a touchdown that made it 14-0 at halftime.
The move stunned most everyone. Chapman appeared to penetrate into the backfield and trip up Green-Ellis before he stretched the ball to the goal line while his knee touched the ground over right guard. But Triplette said the officials watched the goal line and not the backfield.
"I don't know about that, what position," Triplette said when asked by a pool reporter about Chapman's play. "There was nobody that touched him at the goal line … we looked at the goal line. (Those) were the shots we looked at. … We reviewed the goal line."
Green-Ellis didn't offer an opinion, but he said he was concerned because he couldn't fully extend the ball in his right arm. Of course, he would say he was in.
"If they asked me, that's what I was going to tell them," BJGE said. "I tried to tell the referee before (the replay). We have enough camera angles and I'm glad the camera angles caught whatever it was that awarded us a touchdown.
"I know I tripped; that's for sure. I don't know if someone hit me or I tripped on my own. I hope I didn't trip on my own. Whatever it was, I'm glad we scored. I don't need an explanation. As long as they gave me the six, I really don't care."
The Bengals came into the game leading the NFL in fourth-and-one rushes with seven, but they were only third in converting them with four and some were famous misfires. Trailing 7-3 in Cleveland, BJGE got thrown for a two-yard loss on the way to a 17-6 loss. On the first drive in Baltimore, the Ravens turned quarterback Andy Dalton's failed fourth-and-one sneak into a touchdown during an overtime loss.
"He's gone for it a couple times this year and we haven't been so successful," Green-Ellis said. "So for us to get a second chance at the end of the season is great. Remember the Cleveland game and we had a (third-and-two) in Miami on the first drive of the game and we didn't do it. Of course, those two things still stick in your head when they don't happen. Those are critical situations. You have to win those critical situations in a game, especially the turnover battle on offense." Defensive tackle Domata Peko took his customary spot at fullback and he helped give Green-Ellis a big hole over on the right side before he got tripped up by Chapman on the back side.
"I was happy for that. Yeah, I was surprised," Peko said. "Thas was like the Red Sea. It was wide open. I guess he got tripped up a little. He probably saw the wide-open hole. I don't know what happened."
It was BJGE's hustle and dive for the goal line that made the thing go to replay. But Green-Ellis said it was difficult to make that stretch.
"That's difficult to do. Because I really extended it, but the ball was in my right hand, so I couldn't hold it because I play with that cast," BJGE said. "So I couldn't (reach out straight). I had to do it (halfway stretched)."
» The only downer for the Bengals, and it was a big one, was the sight of starting cornerback Terence Newman on crutches with a knee injury after he missed the final seven-and-a-half minutes. Indications are it's not a season-ender, but there are only three weeks left and time is running out. There's a possibility when the Bengals go into Pittsburgh next Sunday night trying to clinch the AFC North with a win and a Baltimore loss the next night that his status may be in doubt. The Bengals already lost the other starting cornerback, Leon Hall, for the season with an Achilles injury Oct. 20.
» As rookie running back Giovani Bernard soaked in his career day of 99 rushing yards and 49 receiving yards, he was unfazed by not getting that one yard for the first 100-yard game of his career.
"What was the yards per rush?" asked Bernard and smiled when he was told 8.3.
"That's pretty good," he said. "That's what matters the most. Yards per. And all purpose-yards."
» Yes, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's four touchdown passes matched the total number of touchdowns the Bengals had allowed in the five previous PBS games. But they put Luck through a miserable 2-for-10 on third down, making opposing offenses 25 percent on third down (20-for-80) this season at PBS.
» Time for the offensive line to take a bow. They had their third straight game without a sack, rolled up 4.4 yards per rush on 38 carries on Sunday and left tackle Anthony Collins helped blank a star rusher for the third time in his third start of the season as Andrew Whitworth moved to left guard. On Opening Day it was Julius Peppers in Chicago. On Halloween it was Oliver Vernon in Miami. On Sunday it was Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis with an NFL-best 15.5 sacks taking turns on Collins and right tackle Andre Smith.
"Watching film on him early," Collins said of trying to shut down Mathis. "Knowing everything that he does and not taking plays off. If it's 100 plays, you have to play 100 plays because he will make you look foolish if you don't.
"His speed and he's smart and he has (15.5) sacks. I had to look into that. Any time you come into Week 14 with (15.5 sacks) you're doing something right. So I had to make sure I watched extra film."
» The Bengals rushed for 155 yards on 35 carries, making quarterback Andy Dalton 19-3 in games the Bengals have at least 30 runs. It also marked the fifth time in nine games the Bengals rushed for at least 155 yards and they are 4-1 with the only loss coming in overtime in Miami.