Bengals
Broncos
23 - 24 Final
  for this game

Botched snap on extra-point attempt dooms Bengals

Dec 25, 2006 - 3:31 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- A botched snap on an extra-point attempt has given the Denver Broncos the upper hand in the AFC wild-card race.

The Broncos held on for a 24-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in snowy conditions when Brad St. Louis' long snap sailed wide and could not be handled by holder Kyle Larson, preventing Shayne Graham from even attempting the extra point.

The Bengals thought they were headed to overtime when Carson Palmer hit T.J. Houshmandzadeh with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left in the fourth quarter. But Graham, who has made his last 158 extra points, didn't get a chance to tie the game.

"Obviously it is a tough way to lose a game," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "But I don't want anyone to think that one play was the reason we lost."

The win put the Broncos (9-6) in control of their playoff destiny. They will make the postseason for the fourth straight season with a win here against San Francisco next week.

The Bengals (8-7) could have clinched an AFC wild-card spot with a win over the Broncos. But now they are no longer in control of their destiny.

If the Broncos win next week and the New York Jets (8-6) win their next two games, then those teams will earn the wild-card berths. The Jets play at Miami on Monday night.

Cincinnati closes the season at home against Pittsburgh next week.

This loss was especially heartbreaking for the Bengals, who went 90 yards in 12 plays for what appeared to be the game-tying touchdown. Palmer completed four passes for 65 yards on the drive, including three to Houshmandzadeh for 58 yards. Fittingly, Houshmandzadeh capped the drive with a 10-yard touchdown catch.

"My mind was set for overtime," Bengals tackle Levi Jones said. "That's why you still saw me out on the field after the play, like 'What happened?'"

Snow flurries and windy conditions made the field quite slippery, and that could have been a factor in the errant snap by St. Louis. Larson was able to lunge and get his hands on the ball, but couldn't catch it.

"It was unfortunate," St. Louis said. "It had been snowing for most of the game so that didn't have an effect on the ball. I just didn't put it in his (Larson's) hands. It definitely didn't feel the same way when it left my hands."

"We didn't execute as a unit," Larson said. "We practice it a thousand times. This time we just didn't execute."

But Broncos coach Mike Shanahan thought the slick turf was a factor.

"When the ball is slick like that there is always an opportunity for that to happen, especially when the pressure is on," Shanahan said.

The Bengals then tried an onside kick and went offsides on the first attempt. Graham blooped the second onside kick and Quincy Morgan caught it to seal the win for Denver.

Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey of the Broncos won his battle against Pro Bowl wide receiver Chad Johnson. Bailey recorded his ninth interception of the season, recovered Johnson's first career fumble and limited Johnson to three catches for 32 yards. Johnson entered the game with 80 receptions for 1,284 yards.

With Bailey shadowing Johnson for most of the game, Palmer turned to Houshmandzadeh, who caught nine passes for 94 yards and eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving for the season. Cornerbacks Darrent Williams and Karl Paymah alternated on covering Houshmandzadeh.

Palmer, who was named to the Pro Bowl earlier in the week, completed 21-of-40 for 209 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Rudi Johnson rushed for 129 yards on 30 carries, including a six-yard touchdown in the first quarter, for Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, Denver rookie Jay Cutler became the first NFL player to pass for multiple touchdowns in each of his first four games. Shanahan benched Jake Plummer and named Cutler as the starter before the team's December 3 game against Seattle.

Cutler hit rookie tight end Tony Scheffler with a one-yard scoring pass and connected with Javon Walker on a 39-yard touchdown in a span of 1:17 early in the second quarter to give the Broncos a 14-7 lead.

"Like I said from day one, this guy is something special," Shanahan said of Cutler. "I am really proud of him and the way he played."

"Every game I feel more confident and comfortable in the pocket," said Cutler, who was 12-of-23 for 179 yards with an interception.

"The more starts he gets the more consistent he gets," Walker said of Cutler. "A couple of more starts and he'll be one of the best out there."

Graham kicked a 46-yard field goal with 6:49 left in the second quarter to pull the Bengals within 14-10.

Former Bronco Deltha O'Neal recovered a fumble by Tatum Bell at the Denver 30 with 2:37 remaining in the quarter. Six plays later, Chris Henry made a leaping 11-yard touchdown catch to give the Bengals a 17-14 lead with 43 seconds left in the half.

Just as the snow began sticking on the field, the Broncos went on a 14-play, 99-yard drive which resulted in a two-yard scoring run by Mike Bell with 3:17 left in the third quarter. Cutler completed three passes for 60 yards and Mike Bell rushed six times for 32 yards on the drive.

An illegal shift penalty on Cincinnati's next series nullified an apparent 75-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to Henry.

Jason Elam kicked a 24-yard field goal with 12:54 left in the fourth quarter to increase Denver's lead to 24-17.








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CINCINNATI 7 10 0 6 23
    DENVER 0 14 7 3 24 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CIN - TD, RUDI JOHNSON 6 YD RUN (SHAYNE
    GRAHAM KICK), 11:16. Drive: 4
    plays, 18 yards in 0:50. Key plays:
    Ratliff 17-yard punt return to
    Denver 18; Palmer 12-yard pass to
    Watson on 3rd-and-1

    Dec 24 7:36 PM


  • NFL
    TD CIN
    T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH 10 YD PASS FROM CARSON PALMER
    (PAT FAILED)
    CINCINNATI 23
    DENVER 24 0:41 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 7:31 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 56 roots

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 7:31 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 6 roots

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 7:21 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 8 roots

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 7:18 PM
  • 72
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 2 roots

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 7:08 PM


  • NFL
    FG DEN
    JASON ELAM 24 YD
    CINCINNATI 17
    DENVER 24 12:54 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 6:48 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CINCINNATI 7 10 0 17
    DENVER 0 14 7 21 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CIN - TD, RUDI JOHNSON 6 YD RUN (SHAYNE
    GRAHAM KICK), 11:16. Drive: 4
    plays, 18 yards in 0:50. Key plays:
    Ratliff 17-yard punt return to
    Denver 18; Palmer 12-yard pass to
    Watson on 3r

    Dec 24 6:43 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    MIKE BELL 2 YD RUN
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CINCINNATI 17
    DENVER 21 3:17 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 6:30 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CINCINNATI 7 10 17
    DENVER 0 14 14 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CIN - TD, RUDI JOHNSON 6 YD RUN (SHAYNE
    GRAHAM KICK), 11:16. Drive: 4
    plays, 18 yards in 0:50. Key plays:
    Ratliff 17-yard punt return to
    Denver 18; Palmer 12-yard pass to
    Watson on 3rd-an

    Dec 24 5:48 PM


  • NFL
    TD CIN
    CHRIS HENRY 11 YD PASS FROM CARSON PALMER
    (SHAYNE GRAHAM KICK)
    CINCINNATI 17
    DENVER 14 0:43 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 5:42 PM


  • NFL
    FG CIN
    SHAYNE GRAHAM 46 YD
    CINCINNATI 10
    DENVER 14 6:49 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 5:23 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    JAVON WALKER 39 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CINCINNATI 7
    DENVER 14 12:07 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 5:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD DEN
    TONY SCHEFFLER 1 YD PASS FROM JAY CUTLER
    (JASON ELAM KICK)
    CINCINNATI 7
    DENVER 7 13:24 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 5:06 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CINCINNATI 7 7
    DENVER 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CIN - TD, RUDI JOHNSON 6 YD RUN (SHAYNE
    GRAHAM KICK), 11:16. Drive: 4
    plays, 18 yards in 0:50. Key plays:
    Ratliff 17-yard punt return to
    Denver 18; Palmer 12-yard pass to
    Watson on 3r

    Dec 24 4:56 PM


  • NFL
    TD CIN
    RUDI JOHNSON 6 YD RUN
    (SHAYNE GRAHAM KICK)
    CINCINNATI 7
    DENVER 0 3:44 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Bengals vs. BroncosDec 24 4:47 PM