The Bengals had a third-and-1 late in the game and, for some unfathomable reason, decided to throw a deep pass. It was one of several unfathomable calls made by the Bengals. The pass fell, as one would fathom, incomplete.
Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham had seen enough and totally lost his mind. He screamed at the Bengals coaches as he walked off the field. He continued to scream and point at them once he reached the sideline. It was a pretty significant outburst that should probably get him fined by the team.
Despite those ugly offensive calls, despite that outburst, despite Andy Dalton's two interceptions, the Bengals won. They won because of their defense. They won because the Bengals are comfortable winning in a not-so-pretty way.
Of all the teams in the playoffs, and of all the teams that will be, the Bengals are the least attractive, and in some ways, this makes them highly dangerous. They are comfortable with slugfests, which can happen in the playoffs, and they will be a difficult out for any team they play.
[Mike Freeman: Steelers choke vs. Bengals]
No, these are not the same ol' Bungles. They had the league's longest streak of not having back-to-back playoff appearances. It was a streak that last three decades. That's now over.
"I told everybody that I wasn't here 30 years ago," said Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. "This is only my second year and we can only control what we do. That's playing sound football and beating the great teams. That's the next step we have to do. Beat the great teams and we can build from that."
Even the way the Bengals handled their victory against Pittsburgh was unconventional. In the locker room following the win, players talked about a passing of the torch and ending a Steelers' reign in the division. This despite the team's first win in 10 tries against Pittsburgh.
Winning ugly: Going for it on fourth-and-22.
Winning ugly: Trying a 56-yard field goal instead of pinning the Steelers deep.
Winning ugly: A defense that picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice, and returning one of those interceptions for a score.
Winning. Ugly. This is what they do and this is why they might be dangerous once the playoffs start.