CINCINNATI – Daryl Washington had to smile, because he couldn’t really do anything else when the amazing leap of Bengals’ receiver Jerome Simpson Saturday was the topic.
In what proved to be the game-winning points even though it came in the first half, Simpson’s oh-he-did-not-just-do-that play scored a touchdown in the most incredible of ways. Simpson, on his way to a 19-yard catch-and-run, leaped to dive into the end zone over Washington, who had crouched low for a goal-line tackle and then tried to hit an airborne Simpson.
That has been seen in the NFL. What hasn’t been seen is Simpson’s full somersault in midair, including a finish on his feet.
“It seemed like he was going to hit me and I didn’t want to get hit,” Simpson said.
“It seemed like he was going to jump, but you don’t know what to expect in the open field,” Washington said. “He made a great catch and kind of laughed, so I said, ‘Don’t be jumping on me like that.’ He made a great play.”
It was the last touchdown allowed for the Cards, but it underscored the defense’s rough first half. Simpson was wide open when he caught the ball – left uncovered in a coverage mistake – as Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton carved up the Cards in the first 30 minutes.
“It’s tough when you’re not doing anything on offense, when you have opportunities and you turn the ball over in critical situations, it can be frustrating,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “But they didn’t get frustrated. They still fought.”
The defense played well enough that Simpson’s catch almost became a footnote rather than a game-winning play.
“I stuck the landing like a gymnast,” Simpson said. “A lot of the guys gave me a ‘10’ on it. I think it was like a ‘9’ maybe, because I touched the ground (with my hand) a little bit. But I just wanted to make a great play for my team — you know, have a Merry Christmas and just be happy.”
A LOST PICK AND AN INJURY FOR PETERSON
The injury means Peterson probably won’t get a chance to set the punt return touchdown record, but he was just thankful the injury was just a strain and not a tear, meaning he will be able to repair it with rehab and not surgery.
“That’s a huge relief,” Peterson said. “It’s something that can heal over the next week or so with rehab.”
A TOUCHDOWN MISSED
The Cardinals were trailing by 10 with four minutes left when they managed to get a first-and-goal at the Bengals 1-yard line. On the first play, the Cards dialed up a quick handoff to fullback
“We had the guard pulling and we were going back into the backside of the hole with the fullback,” Whisenhunt said. “John said the guard hit him on the hand. That happens every once in a while. Unfortunately it happened at the worst time.”
The play was significant. The Cards got the fumble back when
KOLB HAS TO SIT AGAIN
“We kept thinking he was going to get past it, get past it,” Whisenhunt said. “Even if it’s just a little bit, what you don’t want to do is put him at risk.”
BEANIE GETS HIS 1,000
Running back Beanie Wells finally reached the 1,000-yard plateau, gaining the necessary six yards on his first carry of the game. Wells finished with 53 yards, giving him 1,047 on the season to go with his 10 touchdowns.