Tied Bengals, Redskins both leave London feeling like losers
LONDON (AP) The Bengals and Redskins both leave London feeling like losers after a strange shootout of a tie that satisfies nobody.
Washington (4-3-1) needed to gain ground vs. Dallas and Philadelphia above it in the competitive NFC East, while Cincinnati (3-4-1) simply hoped to get back to .500 in the weaker AFC North. Instead, both head into their bye weeks with that unlikely No. 1 tacked on to their records like an irritating footnote.
The Bengals let their victory slip away in regulation, permitting a 10-play, 45-yard drive that ended in a 40-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins with barely a minute left to knot the score 27-27.
Washington got a double dose of regret in overtime, cheering as Hopkins' 34-yard kick with barely two minutes remaining cleared the uprights – only to be whistled dead on a Bengals timeout. His second kick hooked wide left .
Yet the Redskins got the ball back at midfield after forcing an Andy Dalton fumble . Kirk Cousins hit Pierre Garcon to the Bengals 33-yard line, into potential winning field-goal range again – only for the play to be reversed on a dubious pass interference call on Garcon.
''It's weird,'' said Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson. ''On one hand, you're mad, because there's a couple plays that if we make, we can win. But at the same time, we didn't lose. It's bittersweet, you know? I'm glad we didn't take the `L,' but I'm upset we didn't win.''
Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said he'd been thinking to himself, after watching the Seahawks and Cardinals struggle to a 6-6 tie last weekend, how weird it would be to experience an NFL tie himself.
''Then lo and behold, here we are,'' he said. ''It definitely feels more like a loss than a win.''
''I just feel bad,'' said Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. ''Tie? Whatever. I just feel like we lost.''
Other takeaways from Sunday's Wembley Stadium draw:
TERRIFIC TYLER: If the Bengals are going to reach the playoffs for a sixth straight year, they must improve their red-zone scoring. T key could be Tyler Eifert.
The fourth-year tight end played a full game for the first time since offseason back surgery and was a dominant presence. He caught nine balls on 12 targets for 102 yards, many of them gained after the catch on short dump-offs, shovel passes or because of broken tackles.
His 15-yard touchdown catch on the Bengals' opening third-quarter drive put Cincinnati in front 13-10. It also was the first touchdown generated this season by any Bengals tight end, one year removed from Eifert catching 13 TD catches, a team record at the position.
A.J. Green said having Eifert back opened up the field for every other receiver.
''To see what he can do in the middle of the field is unbelievable,'' said Green, who made nine catches for 121 yards. ''I didn't have to worry about both safeties. All I had to worry about was beating the corner every time.''
Eifert's blocking was instrumental on Cincinnati's final touchdown. He helped seal the end of the defensive line for Jeremy Hill to stride untouched into the end zone on a 1-yard run that put the Bengals up 27-24 in the fourth quarter.
Dalton praised Eifert as ''such a good player … a big part of this offense.''
RUNNING FREE: The Redskins' ground game ain't broken without leading rusher Matt Jones, sidelined Sunday with a knee injury picked up midweek.
Undrafted rookie Robert Kelley proved effective, carrying 21 times for 87 yards and his first rushing touchdown, a juking 4-yard carry up the gut on Washington's opening drive. His final carry in overtime went for 16 yards to the Bengals 13 to put Hopkins seemingly within safe field goal range.
Cousins said he was impressed watching the 228-pounder from Tulane ''read the holes and make the cuts and keep his shoulders downhill and take on contact.''
KICKING THEMSELVES: Both teams have questions to answer after their kickers flubbed scoring chances. Hopkins hit field goals of 20 and 40 yards, but missed from 34 and 55 – and he was still the better kicker on the field.
The Bengals' Mike Nugent has missed all three attempts of 50 yards or more this season, including Sunday's 51-yarder that spun low and wide left. Nugent also shanked an extra point, his first miss this season. That point could have turned a tie into the narrowest of victories.
SEEING YELLOW: While Josh Norman protested vociferously Sunday that the officials were biased against his team, the stark reality is that the Redskins played by far their most penalty-marred game.
Sunday's tally was 15 flags for 102 yards, and didn't include a pass interference on Norman on a 40-yard pass to A.J. Green that the Bengals receiver caught despite being held. Washington's previous top penalty total, achieved in two games, was nine penalties for 75 yards.
Associated Press reporter Zac Boyer contributed to this story.
AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL