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Colts overwhelm shorthanded Bengals, advance to play Broncos 01.04.15 at 4:10 pm ET
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Adam Vinatieri kicked four field goals Sunday in a playoff win over the Bengals. (Getty Images)

Adam Vinatieri kicked four field goals Sunday in a playoff win over the Bengals. (Getty Images)

The story remains the same.

For the fourth straight season, the Cincinnati Bengals reach the playoffs and for a fourth straight season, they are one-and-done.

Andrew Luck threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief and Adam Vinatieri kicked four field goals as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Bengals, 26-10, in an AFC wildcard game Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts advance to play Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the AFC divisional round next Sunday at Sports Authority Field in Denver. It will be the first time Manning has faced his former team in the playoffs.

Luck finished 31-of-44 for 376 yards for the Colts, who outgained the Bengals, 482-254.

Without injured star receiver A.J. Green (concussion) and tight end Jermaine Gresham (back), Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton again failed miserably in the postseason.

The Colts took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a 2-yard run by Boom Herron but the Bengals answered with their only touchdown of the day, a one-yard run from Jeremy Hill. Vinatieri hit two field goals to put the Colts up, 13-7, as the Bengals defense held Luck without a TD in the red zone.

The Bengals defense then gave their overwhelmed quarterback a fighting chance at halftime. Darqueze Dennard forced a turnover from Herron and converted it into a 57-yard field goal from Mike Nugent with 10 seconds left in the first half, closing the Indianapolis lead to 13-10 at the break.

But Dalton, who finished 18-of-35 for 155 yards, went three-and-out on his first three possessions of the second half, including the opening possession of the half when the Bengals had a chance at momentum. Luck found Moncrief on 36-yard connection in the third quarter and Vinatieri added two more field goals.

The remarkable losing culture continues with the Bengals. Their head coach Marvin Lewis falls to 0-6 in the playoffs. Dalton is now 0-4. And they haven’t won a playoff game since Jan. 1991, a string of seven straight losses in the postseason.

The Bengals have also never won a road playoff game, falling to 0-7 all time.

Read More: Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton, Boom Herron, Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals pick off Peyton Manning 4 times, beat Broncos and hand Patriots No. 1 seed in AFC 12.22.14 at 11:50 pm ET
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The Bengals had Peyton Manning on the run all night, picking off the quarterback 4 times. (Getty Images)

The Bengals had Peyton Manning on the run all night, picking off the quarterback four times. (John Grieshop/Getty Images)

The Patriots can thank Dre Kirkpatrick and the Bengals for clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Cincinnati defensive backs intercepted Peyton Manning four times, including a game-sealing pick-six by Kirkpatrick with under three minutes left, to lead the Bengals to a 37-28 win over the Broncos Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium. Manning, who had been 8-0 in his career against Cincinnati, was intercepted four times in a game for the sixth time in his career.

“I have to play better,” Manning said to reporters after being picked off four times for the first time since 2010.

The win means the Patriots will have home field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl, while the Bengals clinched a playoff berth for a fourth straight season. Cincinnati improved to 10-4-1 and will play Pittsburgh next Sunday night in Pittsburgh for the AFC North title. Denver had a chance to clinch a first-round bye with a win. Now, the Bengals could finish No. 2 and earn a bye if they beat the Steelers and the Broncos lose to the Raiders.

Another result of the Cincinnati win is that the Patriots will play the Bills at 1 p.m. Sunday at Gillette since that game has no playoff implications.

Andy Dalton spotted the Broncos an early 7-0 lead when he overthrew A.J. Green on a pass over the middle. The ball went off his outstretched hands and into the arms of former Patriot Aqib Talib. The cornerback fell to the ground to make the catch, got up and returned it 21 yards for a pick-6 and a Broncos lead. Green suffered an upper right arm injury on a hit from T.J. Ward, and was extremely limited and ineffective the rest of the game.

But from there, the Bengals defense dominated the rest of the first half. The Bengals held Manning off the scoreboard while scoring 20 straight points.

Rookie Jeremy Hill broke off an 85-yard run on the first play after Talib’s interception return and the Bengals added a Mike Nugent field goal and a short 2-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to Jermaine Gresham. The Bengals held a 20-7 halftime lead when Connor Barth missed a 49-yard field goal at the end of the half.

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Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Peyton Manning
Report: MRI reveals pectoral muscle tear, ending the season for Ryan Mallett 11.24.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett played with torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season.  (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett played with torn pectoral muscle and is out for the season. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett‘s first chance as an NFL starting quarterback lasted just two weeks.

An MRI performed Monday on the Houston Texans quarterback revealed a torn right pectoral muscle that he played through in Sunday’s 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The news was first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The former back-up to Tom Brady, who is a free agent after this season, suffered the injury in his first career start Nov. 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He practiced fully all week but was on the injury report with a chest injury throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

In his first start Nov. 16 in Cleveland, Mallett completed 20 of 30 passes and threw two touchdowns and one interception. He had the 10th-best rating of any Texans starting quarterback since 2001. On Sunday against the Bengals, Mallett completed only 21 of 45 passes and looked off target all afternoon.

Mallett won the job from Ryan Fitzpatrick just before their bye week in early November as head coach Bill O’Brien turned to the quarterback he coached in New England in 2011 and 2012. The Patriots traded Mallett to the Texans on Aug. 31 after spending the first three years of his career in New England. Mallett threw only four passes in those three years.

The Texans acquired him for a conditional draft pick. The pick is a sixth-rounder if Mallett plays 40 percent of the team’s snaps this season and a seventh-rounder if he plays less.

Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, houston texans, New England Patriots
Tom Brady ‘can’t put a price tag’ on satisfaction after Patriots’ blowout win 10.06.14 at 2:30 am ET
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FOXBORO — This time when Tom Brady came out of the game for Jimmy Garoppolo, he was feeling nothing but pure satisfaction as the back-up took a knee to end New England’s 43-17 thrashing of the not-ready-for-primetime Bengals Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

How things can change in just six days.

Brady was 23-of-35 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and a season-best QB rating of 110.7. From the moment he came onto the field to his “PSA” anthem from Jay-Z, Brady was yelling and fired up. And it translated into the most dominating performance at a time when the Patriots needed it the most.

The Patriots were fired up during and after the game, celebrating a sense of relief in the locker room after the most significant regular season win in recent memory.

“I think it’€™s a great opportunity for our team,” Brady said. “We try not to get caught up in that stuff and I think you just focus on the things you can control. To ride the ups and downs of, ‘€˜You’€™re great. You suck. You’€™re great. You suck,’€™ it’€™s exhausting. It’€™s exhausting enough when you’€™re winning to have to deal with those things and when you lose, it sucks for everybody. We don’€™t play this game to go out there and not play well. Guys take it to heart. I think guys worked really hard this week to get prepared for tonight. Like I said, it was a great opportunity for us to come out and show what we’€™re made of.

“You know, we get paid to play football. We get paid to play it well, actually. So, we should go out there and play really well. We work really hard all year round for these moments and what we experience in the locker room after that win, you can’€™t put a price tag on that.”

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Read More: Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, nfl, Tom Brady
Mike Petraglia, Chris Price break down Patriots’ annihilation of Bengals at 2:12 am ET
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FOXBORO — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the Patriots’ 43-17 dismantling of the previously unbeaten Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady passed the 50,000-yard passing milestone, and the Patriots put together their best all-around effort of the season.

Read More: Chris Price, Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots
Bill Belichick: ‘Obviously, a satisfying night’ at 2:00 am ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick has a way with words, and Sunday night, after his team demolished the previously unbeaten Bengals, 43-17, his words spoke volumes about how good it felt to come out and play a complete game.

“Well, that was obviously a satisfying night tonight,” Belichick said. “I thought our coaching staff really did a good job this week on the short week. You know, really worked hard to get our team ready and I thought the players really went out and played hard tonight.”

The Patriots put up over 500 yards of offense against a defense considered to be of Super Bowl quality. His quarterback looked like the Hall of Famer he certainly will become after he retires, throwing two touchdowns and firing up his team from the get-go.

And the special teams produced a touchdown when Brandon Bolden drilled Brandon Tate and Kyle Arrington scooped it up for the touchdown that put the Patriots up 34-10. Of course, there were 12 penalties for 114 yards.

“It wasn’t perfect — certainly [there are] a lot of things we need to do better, but we played hard; we made a lot of plays against a good football team,” Belichick said. “Cincinnati has a good — that’€™s a good club. Marvin [Lewis] does a good job with that group. Tonight was just kind of our night. A lot of things went in our favor. We made a few things happen and that was good. We just have to really give all the credit to the players for the way they played. They’€™re resilient, they’€™re tough and they worked hard this week and they played hard tonight. I’€™m proud of them for that.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots,
Bill Belichick explains why he has a ‘much closer relationship’ with Mike Brown than Paul Brown 10.05.14 at 6:06 pm ET
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — It’s no secret that Bill Belichick has always admired the teaching methods of Paul Brown.

But what’s not as well known is the personal family connections between the Belichicks and Browns, dating back to World War II.

The connection begins with Bill Edwards, a former player under Paul Brown, who also coached for him. Edwards happens to be Belichick’s godfather.

When Brown came to run the Bengals, Belichick and his father, Navy assistant coach Steve Belichick made the trip to Wilmington (Ohio) College to visit training camp.

“Obviously he remembers a lot, it’€™s his father,” Belichick said Friday when asked about his memories about the Brown family. “But, I talk to Mike about him plenty and have a lot of respect for that family. My dad and that family go way back, back to World War II, post-World War II days. My godfather’€™s relationship with Paul and the Browns and the Bengals and the Browns being at Hiram [College] and my mom graduating from Hiram and my dad coaching at Hiram ‘€“ it goes back a long way.

Paul Brown died in 1991 at the age of 82. Brown’s son Mike, now 79, still owns and runs the Bengals, with his daughter Katie Blackburn.

“I’€™d say most of the relationship with Coach [Paul] Brown was with my dad,” Belichick said. “I met him and gone to practices and those kind of things, but I was young. So, I’€™d say I have a much closer relationship with Mike just because we’€™re a little closer in age, [have] football fathers, Ohio. There are a lot of similarities there.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Brown, New England Patriots
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