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Sunday’s roundup: Lewis won’t criticize players

Associated Press

Cincinnati — It’ll be known around these parts as “The Meltdown.”

With a chance to finally end their playoff futility, the Bengals let it all slip away.

A fumble, a defensive lapse, and two ugly penalties set up Pittsburgh’s winning field goal for an 18-16 victory on Saturday night. They solidified their reputation as a team that can’t keep it together in the big games.

The Bengals (12-5) won the AFC North and tied the club record for victories in a season. They’d won a dozen only two other times — in 1981 and 1988, when they went to the Super Bowl and lost to the 49ers both times.

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones — players with a history of getting out of control — drew personal fouls that moved the Steelers in range for the winning kick.

“This was a disgraceful performance by the Cincinnati Bengals,” said CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, the quarterback of Cincinnati’s 1988 Super Bowl team.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who fell to 0-7 in the playoffs as a head coach, the most such losses to start a career in NFL history, declined to criticize either player directly after the game.

“I’m not going to single out our guys,” Lewis said. “We had enough chances to win.”

Injury report

Ben Roethlisberger said he was day-to-day after suffering a right shoulder injury Saturday night. The NFL Network reported he has a separated shoulder, but Roethlisberger said he won’t know the extent of the injury until he receives the result of the MRI he had on Sunday.

... Brown is in the league’s concussion protocol after the hit he took from Burfict.

... Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin suffered a sprained right ankle Saturday against the Texans. Coach Andy Reid said it's too early to say whether Maclin would be ruled out for Saturday's game at New England.

Coaching carousel

Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson interviewed with the 49ers regarding their head coaching vacancy.

... The Eagles will interview former Giants coach Tom Coughlin today. They interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on Sunday morning.

... The Browns interviewed Carolina defensive coordinator Sean McDermott for their head coaching job.

...The Bills signed general manager Doug Whaley to a contract extension.

Ratings game

The Steelers’ win over the Bengals in prime time averaged 31.2 million viewers on CBS, up 12 percent from the 27.9 million for the Baltimore-Pittsburgh matchup in the same slot a year ago.

The early game Saturday was simulcast on ESPN and ABC after it was only on ESPN nationally last season. The Chiefs’ rout of the Texans averaged 25.2 million viewers, up 13 percent from the 22.2 million for Arizona-Carolina in 2015.