Bengals receiver Jerome Simpson leaps over Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington for a touchdown during Sunday's 23-16 Arizona loss.
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
Rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson suffered a double whammy Saturday, losing what would have been his third interception of the season when safety Adrian Wilson was called for roughing the quarterback, and then coming down on the play and straining his Achilles.
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 Anthony Sherman – except the ball was jarred loose from the hands of quarterback John Skelton when pulling left guard Daryn Colledge apparently bumped him while on the move.
"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 Beanie Wells jumped on it, but lost 11 yards. Unable to score, they were forced to kick a field goal to pull within seven points, instead of cutting the lead to three and giving themselves a much easier chance to tie the game on their final two possessions.
KOLB HAS TO SIT AGAIN
Quarterback Kevin Kolb was inactive because of his concussion symptoms, and it's clear they haven't subsided. Kolb told the Fox broadcast team he was still having trouble putting thoughts together.
"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.