(The 49ers handed the Bengals three of the most excruciating losses in team history. In two of them, Bill Walsh's [right] 49ers beats Sam Wcyhe's Bengals)
For most NFL fan bases, losing a game on an 87-yard tipped touchdown pass would probably be the low point in franchise history. Not in Cincinnati though. Nightmares happen here more often than on Elm Street.
The truth is that no Cincinnati fan over the age of six actually thought the game was over after Cedric Benson's touchdown.
With :38 seconds left in the game, I swear to David Klingler I had this exact thought,
"I bet Orton throws a high liner for Marshall that Leon Hall tips into the air, it will be caught by Brandon Stokely, who hasn't had a catch all day and he'll scamper 87-yards for a touchdown."
OK, so I didn't think that. I was thinking more along the lines of, "I bet Matt Prater makes a 68-yard field goal left-footed with no shoe on."
Hopefully you get the point here—Bengals fans have very active imaginations when it comes to ways to lose a game.
Anyway, let's get to the five most gut punching losses ever, please get out the puke bucket because your stomach is going to get queasy....
Sept. 19, 1976 at Baltimore 28-27: Maybe the Bengals should just forfeit weeks one and two to make things easier on the fans. In week two of 1976, the Bengals watch their 27-21 lead disappear late in the fourth quarter on a Roosevelt Leaks two-yard touchdown run. Cincinnati would finish 10-4 and out of the playoffs, the Colts would go 11-3 and be the last team in.
Jan. 24, 1982, Super Bowl XVI: The Bengals' first foray into the big game almost turned into embarrassment when they found themselves down 20-0 at halftime. However, the Bengals came within inches of a miraculous third quarter comeback.
On first-and-goal from the one, Cincinnati had four chances to punch the ball in for a touchdown that would have cut the 49er lead to 20-14.
However, this is the Bengals, so we all know what happens. Bengals don't get in, 49ers end up winning 26-21.
Sept. 13, 2009 vs. Broncos 12-7: You know what happened. The immaculate deflection. Lets just say that historically, the Bengals do not respond well to adversity, see the last 18 seasons.
Sept. 12, 1999 vs. Tennessee 36-35: On opening day 1999, the Bengals managed to blow a 35-26 lead in the fourth quarter. Al Del Greco hit the game winner as time trickled down in the game. Tennessee would finish the season one-yard shy of a World Championship, the Bengals would end the year 4-12.
Dec. 31, 2006 vs. Pittsburgh 23-17 OT-Mr. Almost Always Automatic Shayne Graham goes wide on a 39-yard attempt that would have put the Bengals in the playoffs. This wasn't as painful as a week earlier which starts off this list.
5. Dec. 24, 2006 at Denver
99 percent of Bengals fans had a flashback to this game on Sunday. Either you did it when St. Louis crapped out the snap on the first half field goal. Or you kept saying to yourself after Cedric Benson's touchdown, 'they're going to botch the extra point, damnit, I know it.'
We all remember this Christmas Eve classic. St. Louis and holder Kyle Larsen look like they've never held or snapped a ball in their lives. Blah, blah, blah, read this post for the rest of the story. Bottom line this game cost us a playoff spot, Bengals lose 24-23.
4. TIE October 30, 1994 vs. Dallas, October 20, 1996 at San Francisco
I think you'll notice that the 49ers are on this list 17 times. Anyway, in the Dallas game, the 0-8 Bengals are 17-point underdogs to the defending Super Bowl champs. Jeff 'Shake n' Blake comes out firing and hits Darnay Scott with two long touchdown passes (67, 55) as the Bengals shoot out to a 14-0 lead. Um, lets see, how does this game end again. How about Cowboys kicker Chris Boniol hitting a late fourth quarter field goal for a 23-20 Cowboys win.
49ers-Bengals also involves a bomb or two to Darnay Scott. Only this time the Bengals would jump out to a 21-0 lead. Then Steve Young, who, if you believe the announcers, was dying of cancer in the second half, made a miraculous comeback. 49ers win 28-21 with a fourth quarter touchdown, Young is called a hero, a trooper and he probably would have been named Pope if he wasn't mormon. Blah, blah, blah.
3. September 20, 1987 at Cincinnati vs. San Francisco
Former Bengals Kicker Jim Breech is going to love this list because 3 of the 5 losses listed cost him fame, fortune and probably his own Cessna.
In this game that most fans don't remember and pretty much is the equivalent of getting hit in the face with a tire iron, Breech hit four field goals (23, 42, 41, 46) including two in the fourth quarter that gave Cincy a 26-20 lead.
With :06 seconds showing on the clock, the Bengals had the ball on their own 31. Coach Sam Wyche didn't want to risk a blocked punt, so he had running back James Brooks run a sweep. The thought being that the speedy Brooks could run out :06. But this is the Bengals, so we all know that didn't happen.
Brooks loses six yards and is tripped up at the 25-yard line with :02 left. That turns out to be all the time Joe Montana needs to hit Jerry Rice for a game-winning touchdown. Ray Wersching's extra point means the 49ers escape Riverfront with a 27-26 win. If you're looking for a gut punching last second loss where there is no time left on the clock, this is it.
2. September 20, 1992 (Is Sept. 20 cursed, WTF, this game, the 49er game, what the hell is going to happen this Sunday)
I won't go into detail here about this game because on Thursday INSIC will be producing a Bengals-Packers top five games ever. Lets just say Jim Breech hits a 41-yard field goal to give the Bengals a 23-17 lead with 1:11 showing on the clock.
The ensuing kickoff leaves the Pack at their own eight-yard line.
What do the Packers have going against them?
Top receiver Sterling Sharpe goes out two plays into the drive thanks to an injury. Starting quarterback Don Majkowski had already gone down in the first half, so Green Bay needed their backup quarterback (a second-year castoff from Atlanta) to drive them 92 yards, which is the equivalent of putting a homeless guy in a chemistry lab and asking him to cure AIDS.
What do you think happens? It's the Bengals, and it's the game that makes Brett Favre a legend. Packers 24-23.
Even more heartbreaking, the Bengals were 2-0 going into this game. They would finish the season 5-11.
1. I'll let Youtube explain this one.
But lets just say, Jim Breech makes his cameo appearance with 3:16 left in this game when he hits a 40-yard field goal to put the team up 16-13.
Bengals fans get happy.
Bengals fans realize they will probably lose.
Bengals fans knew this was coming, so crying was kept to a minimum.
This link is Montana-to-Taylor only, the above link begins at 3:16 with Breech's field goal.
I say Bengals lose to Packers 12-11 this week, but all of Green Bay's points are scored on safeties.