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Dan Campbell says Jared Goff, others need to ‘step up more’ for winless Detroit Lions

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DETROIT — An emotional Dan Campbell shed tears after last week’s heartbreaking loss in Minnesota. But on Sunday in Detroit, the first-year Lions coach was visibly angry when they fell at home to Cincinnati, 34-11.

Detroit’s energy and effort is what upset him the most, as they were never in a position to win. Campbell also issued a challenge to his starting quarterback Jared Goff.

“I will say this,” Campbell said. “I feel like he has to step up more than he has and I think he needs to help us, just like everybody else. He’s gonna need to put a little bit of weight on his shoulders here and it’s time to step up, make some throws and do some things, but he needs help.”

Goff certainly didn’t have his best game versus the Bengals, passing for just 38 yards in the first half. They have now gone four consecutive games without posting a first-half touchdown, which last happened in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers.

Goff finished having completed 28 of 42 passes for 202 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. There were light boos coming from Lions fans inside Ford Field, directed at Goff and the offense while being shutout for three quarters.

“I feel their frustration,” Goff said. “These fans here deserve a lot better than what we’ve been giving them. It’s our job to do that and there’s frustrated people everywhere right now.”

The Lions are the last winless team in the league. It’s their first 0-6 start since the infamous 2008 season, when they finished 0-16. With the Jacksonville Jaguars winning Sunday, Detroit now has the longest active losing streak in the NFL at 10 games dating to last season. They’re desperately seeking a victory and are willing to make the necessary changes to do so, including shuffling the roster.

“I mean, this is a cutthroat league. That happens all throughout the league, no matter what. People get traded. People get cut. People get benched,” Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone said. “That’s up to upstairs, [Lions executive vice president and general manager] Brad [Holmes] and Dan to make those decisions.

“All you can do is just focus on yourself, what you can do, like I said, look in the mirror and get better every day,” he added. “As a team, we don’t listen to the outside noise. Whoever we go on the field with, it’s what we’re riding with, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

“Up and down” is the assessment that Goff offered of himself when describing his play through six games.

“I mean, there’s been good, there’s been bad, there’s been stuff to work on,” Goff said. “It’s kind of always that way when you look at yourself and when you’re critical of yourself. Like I said, everyone’s got their things that they’re working on and I’m no different.”

Entering next week’s game against former Lions star Matthew Stafford and the red-hot Los Angeles Rams, Campbell says he’ll be looking at himself in the mirror to make changes. Those changes won’t involve benching Goff, though, at least for now.

“No. Now, that doesn’t mean that something won’t ever come up,” Campbell said of considering a change at quarterback. “I’m gonna look at everything, but, look, this was a collective effort offensively. You can’t blame one person there. I know maybe you think it’s easy to just throw it out and for me to blame it on myself, but look, they heard plenty from me in there, but the bottom line that’s the truth. I didn’t help them prepare for this game properly or help our coaches help them prepare properly.”

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Bengals win first playoff game in 31 years, set the table for a run at AFC title – Cincinnati Bengals Blog

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CINCINNATI — Send those text messages. The Cincinnati Bengals have finally won a playoff game.

Cincinnati defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 at Paul Brown Stadium in an AFC wild-card game on Saturday. It was Cincinnati’s first playoff victory in 31 years, since before cell phones were capable of sending texts, as memes on the internet reminded folks in the days preceding the game.

But the win wasn’t just about ending the longest playoff win drought in the NFL. It was about the first step in making a run at the AFC title.

Over the course of the season, Cincinnati went from the projected cellar dweller in the AFC North to division champs, ending a six-year stretch without a playoff appearance. That journey included an overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers, one of the top teams in the NFL, and a Week 17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC representatives in last year’s Super Bowl.

Those performances indicated Cincinnati wasn’t just a team that could win a playoff game. They showed the Bengals can hang with the best in the NFL.

For the second time this season, the Bengals needed to hang tough against the Raiders in order to pick up a win. The first came on Week 11 and set the tone for the second half of Cincinnati’s season.

The second victory was much more significant. It gave the city of Cincinnati something it hasn’t experienced in decades and set the table for the Bengals to have a truly special postseason.

“We expect to beat everybody that we play, not just hang with them,” Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said after the game.

Burrow added: “I mean, it’s exciting. But this is expected. This isn’t like the icing on top of the cake or anything. This is the cake. So we’re moving on.”

Describe the game in two words: Curse ending. The Bengals ended the fabled “Curse of Bo Jackson” — the former Raiders running back’s final NFL game in January 1991 that also ended Cincinnati’s last playoff run that featured a win.

“I’m just really, really happy for the city of Cincinnati and that they get a chance to enjoy this,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “And now, just exhale and enjoy the ride we have. Because we’re not done yet.”

Pivotal play: On third-and-four at the end of the first half, Bengals quarterback Burrow scrambled and found Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard touchdown pass to give Cincinnati a 20-6 lead. Initially, it appeared Burrow was going to go out of bounds. A referee even blew an errant whistle. But the play continued and Cincinnati got a key red-zone touchdown.

QB breakdown: Burrow was efficient in his playoff debut. After throwing for 148 yards earlier in the season against the Raiders, Burrow finished Saturday’s win completing 24-of-34 passes for 244 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

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Josh Allen, Dawson Knox produce fireworks for Buffalo Bills in freezing weather vs. Patriots

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills started off Saturday night’s wild-card matchup against the New England Patriots with a bang. Quarterback Josh Allen found tight end Dawson Knox for an impressive score in the back of the end zone, giving Buffalo a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Allen was given plenty of time to scramble behind his offensive line (9.64 seconds), but initially it looked like none of his options downfield were open. The quarterback moved to his right and appeared to be throwing it out of bounds, but Knox made an impressive toe-tap grab for the score. The 32.1 run yards traveled before passing are the most on any touchdown of Allen’s career. The pass had a completion percentage of 18.4%, per NFL Next Gen Stats, the second-most-improbable passing touchdown of his career.

It was the first passing touchdown in the past five playoffs in which a quarterback took at least nine seconds to throw, per Next Gen Stats.

The scored capped off a nine-play, 70-yard drive that included Allen rushing for 41 yards on two carries.

On the Patriots’ ensuing drive, quarterback Mac Jones moved the ball downfield and appeared to have a touchdown pass to wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Safety Micah Hyde, however, had other ideas and jumped in front of Agholor for an impressive interception in the end zone.



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Follow live: AFC East rivals meet in playoffs as Bills host Patriots

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