CINCINNATI — It snowed before Sunday’s game at Paul Brown Stadium and drizzled afterward.
In between, the Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) rained points on a stumbling Indianapolis Colts defense en route to a 42-28 victory that clinched a key tiebreaker for the AFC playoffs.
“We got beat by a better team today,” a disheveled Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said in the postgame interview room. “The Bengals beat our butts fair and square, and there’s no way to mince those words.”
But it was also clear the second-year signal-caller was haunted by some of the opportunities Indianapolis (8-5) left on the field.
Luck completed 29 of 46 passes for 326 yards and tied a career high with four touchdown passes, but the offense failed to score a single point during a first half the ended under a cloud of controversy.
Cincinnati led 7-0 facing fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line when second-year nose tackle Josh Chapman appeared to trip Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the backfield and end the threat. The runner was originally ruled down by contact on the field and the ball was awarded to Indianapolis.
Upon a replay review, referee Jeff Triplette reversed his decision — ruling Green-Ellis was not touched at the goal line and awarding Cincinnati the touchdown. Photos later showed Chapman’s hand making contact with Green-Ellis’ foot in the backfield, but Triplette said during a bizarre postgame interview with a pool reporter that part of the play was not reviewed.
“When we reviewed the video at the goal line, there was nobody touching him there, and then he bounced into the end zone,” Triplette said.
Pressed specifically about Chapman, the referee reiterated he’d seen no touch at the goal line and said those were the only shots he and the replay official reviewed.