CINCINNATI — I spoke with Jets coach Rex Ryan and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis before the game.
Rex told me he wants his guys to know they are four wins away from the Super Bowl. He doesn’t mind them thinking about the ultimate prize. To that point, he gave the team an itinerary that included a trip to the Super Bowl, and a date for a Championship Parade back in NY/NJ after they win.
Lewis told me he didn’t shy away from using game tape of the 37-0 blowout from Sunday while preparing for this game. He didn’t want his guys to act like it didn’t happen.
I went into the Bengals’ lockeroom a few hours before the game. Seeing Chris Henry’s locker still intact — with personal effects still inside — really gave me pause. Such a sad loss.
Pregame really picked up when the gates opened. There’s something about the hunger of a crowd who’s team hasn’t won a playoff game in 19 years.
Lewis uses and loses both his challenges in the first quarter — wow. The groans in the press box were audible (FYI, press boxes are usually very quiet, and there’s no “cheering” allowed. Grumbles however…).
Braylon Edwards’ touchdown drop… I think I heard laughter and “We told ya so’s” coming from the North.
– Scott Hanson