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Kansas City at Cincinnati

Fast-closing defense, Benson lead Bengals past 2-14 Chiefs

CBSSports.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- While Herm Edwards talked like he'll be back as the Kansas City Chiefs' coach for at least one more year, running back Larry Johnson began trying to talk his way out of town.

Pacing the sideline in a bright red jacket and cap, Edwards watched the Chiefs' season -- and, perhaps, his days in charge of them -- end with another dismal showing. The Cincinnati Bengals completed their late-season surge with a 16-6 victory Sunday that sent both struggling teams into an offseason of big decisions.

The Chiefs (2-14) have more to make.

The worst season in their 49-year history ended with another disjointed performance under Edwards, who urged the franchise to plunge headlong into a rebuilding mode. His rookie-filled team has lost 23 of its past 25 games, and has at least one major change ahead.

General manager Carl Peterson is leaving after 20 years with Kansas City. His successor will have a say in whether they replace Edwards, who insists that the Chiefs' future isn't as glum as it looks and that he's planning to continue like he'll be part of it.

"It's absolutely business as usual," Edwards said. "I'll be in the office all week and I'll be around. We'll evaluate our team and go from there."

Johnson had some advice on one of the team's personnel decisions.

The running back who signed a five-year extension before the 2007 season decided that he no longer fits in Kansas City. He carried only 10 times for 18 yards on Sunday, finishing the season with 874 yards in Kansas City's spread offense.

"It has everything to do with the environment," Johnson said. "The city is tired of me, and the organization and I have run our course together. It's time to move on for me. There could be 100 changes. It's time for me to go."

The Bengals (4-11-1) will most likely to stay the course after their latest losing season. Coach Marvin Lewis has two years left on his contract, and there is no general manager to replace -- owner Mike Brown makes the important decisions.

The Bengals closed the season with three straight wins, two of them against teams that seemed to care less than they did. They shut out the Browns 14-0 and had little trouble with the lackluster Chiefs, who crossed midfield only once in the first three quarters.

The game served as a preview of next year's offense for Cincinnati, which was missing both tackles and receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to injury. Cedric Benson, who is a free agent after the season, scored on a 2-yard run and ran for 111 yards.

"Of course there will be other organizations interested," said Benson, who had three 100-yard games with the Bengals.

Houshmandzadeh also is a potential free agent, leaving the Bengals with their major decisions on offense. They could use their franchise tag to keep him for one more year, a move he wouldn't like.

"I feel like I don't mind staying here," said Houshmandzadeh, who led the team with 92 catches for 904 yards and four touchdowns. "I would like to stay here, but I don't want to stay here if I get franchised because it's just a one-year deal. I know that, they know that. It's not a long-term thing."

The Bengals sold 63,984 tickets for the game, setting a franchise record with their 44th consecutive sellout. The crowd got so bored that it did the wave in the fourth quarter. Some of the loudest cheers came for a halftime scrimmage between a youth football team and mascots for local sports teams, including the Bengals' mascot.

The kids won that one.

The overriding question in the Chiefs-Bengals game was which team wanted it less. Apparently, it was the Chiefs. Kansas City had the ball five times in the first half and managed only two first downs, setting a tone.

"I thought early in the football game, we didn't have energy," Edwards said. "And you have to play with energy. We generally play with a lot of energy, and we didn't have that in the first half."

The Chiefs didn't get closer than Cincinnati's 37-yard line until their final drive, which ended with Tony Gonzalez's 5-yard touchdown catch with 2:20 left. Then, the speculation began.

"You look at what Atlanta, Miami and Baltimore did (this season), there's no reason we can't do the same," Gonzalez said. "But if a new GM comes in and wants to start over, the last thing I want to hear is rebuild. I'm in my 13th year and I still enjoy the game."


  • Gonzalez's touchdown was his 10th, the most by an NFL tight end this season.
  • The Chiefs had one sack, leaving them with 10 for the season, the fewest by any team since the NFL made sacks an official statistic in 1981.
  • Third-round draft pick Andre Caldwell took Houshmandzadeh's spot and had a team-high five catches for 34 yards. He also ran four times for 49 yards, with one of the runs coming after a direct snap. "I felt like I showed I can go out there and play, be a starter," Caldwell said.
  • WR Chad Ocho Cinco was inactive for the second straight game because of a hamstring injury.
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Cedric Benson completes his strong finishing kick with 111 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Cedric Benson completes his strong finishing kick with 111 yards rushing and a touchdown. (AP)


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Sun. Dec. 28Final
KC - Pass: T. Thigpen (19-36, 191), Rec: D. Bowe (10-103)
CIN - Pass: R. Fitzpatrick (18-30, 129), Rush: C. Benson (25-111)
Scoring Summary
FGShayne Graham 38 Yd, 1:41. Drive: 11 plays, 63 yards in 5:53.
TDCedric Benson, 2 Yd run (Shayne Graham kick is good), 10:57. Drive: 6 plays, 87 yards in 3:39.
FGShayne Graham 30 Yd, 1:47. Drive: 16 plays, 81 yards in 7:46.
FGShayne Graham 43 Yd, 6:21. Drive: 4 plays, 9 yards in 1:52.
TDTony Gonzalez, 5 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Tyler Thigpen 2 Pt. Conversion pass to Tony Gonzalez failed), 2:20. Drive: 11 plays, 91 yards in 4:01.
Players of the Game

C. Benson
Rush 25
Yds 111
Avg 4.4
TD 1

D. Bowe
Rec 10
Yds 103
Avg 10.3
TD 0
Kansas City
T. Thigpen19/3619110
L. Johnson1018014
J. Charles3908
T. Thigpen2404
D. Bowe10103032
T. Gonzalez553115
M. Bradley221012
D. Darling21409
R. Fitzpatrick18/3012900
C. Benson25111114
A. Caldwell449026
R. Fitzpatrick729013
J. Johnson31507
A. Caldwell534013
J. Johnson32009
C. Benson219016
C. Henry219015
N. Lawrie21107
G. Holt110010
R. Kelly2905
B. Utecht1707
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
WAS 24 Final
SF 27
DEN 21 Final
SD 52
SEA 21 Final
ARI 34
OAK 31 Final
TB 24
CLE 0 Final
PIT 31
DAL 6 Final
PHI 44
MIA 24 Final
NYJ 17
CAR 33 Final
NO 31
NYG 19 Final
MIN 20
TEN 0 Final
IND 23
CHI 24 Final
HOU 31
DET 21 Final
GB 31
NE 13 Final
JAC 7 Final
BAL 27
STL 27 Final
ATL 31