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Win or lose, Bengals will make history

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CINCINNATI — No matter what happens Sunday in Indianapolis, the Cincinnati Bengals will make history.

If they can beat the Colts in a Wild-Card game at Lucas Oil Stadium, it will be the first road playoff win in franchise history.

If Bengals lose, they will be the first team in NFL history to lose in the first round of the playoffs four years in a row, while Bengals coach Marvin Lewis would join some dubious company as well by falling to 0-6 in the postseason.

That would tie him with Marty Schottenheimer, Jim Mora and Steven Owen for the most consecutive playoff losses; tie him with Schottenheimer for most consecutive playoff losses to start a career; and tie him with Owen for most consecutive playoff losses with one team.

All of which might explain why Lewis was a bit on edge at Wednesday’s press conference, which he demonstrated when the subject of never winning a playoff game came up about 30 seconds in.

“I’m tired of answering the dumb question, all right,” he said, cutting off a reporter mid-question before quickly correcting himself.

“Excuse me, not a dumb question,” Lewis said. “I’m tired of answering the very important question that I knew was going to be asked. It’s a very relevant question.

“We have to wait until Sunday to answer it again,” he added. “There you go.”

Lewis’ terse demeanor was in stark contrast to the persona he presented in the days leading up to last year’s first-round game against San Diego, when he was laughing and cracking jokes while being asked the same questions.

But if that was an attempt to lighten the mood and take some pressure off his players, it certainly didn’t work as the Bengals dropped a 27-10 decision to a San Diego team they had beaten a month earlier.

The disappointment of that loss on top of all of the others — Pittsburgh in 2005, the New York Jets in 2009, Houston in 2011 and 2012 — fostered a somber, morose mood that Lewis and many of the players said followed them for weeks afterward.

“Any time you lose, it hangs,” Lewis said. “Anytime you lose in the playoffs, it hangs. That’s regardless of when you lose. Unfortunately every year I’ve been in the NFL (playoffs) but one, I’ve lost.”

Lewis won a Super Bowl in Baltimore as defensive coordinator, and he said winning a title here — not just winning one playoff game — is the goal.

“There’s one bigger than this one,’ Lewis says. “In my mind, there’s a bigger one than this one. But you have to get this one before you get to that one.”

SERIES HISTORY: The Colts lead the series 18-10, which includes a 27-0 victory earlier this year in Indianapolis and a 17-0 playoff victory in 1972, when the team was in Baltimore. That was the first playoff game in Bengals history, and it began what is still an active six-game road losing streak in the postseason.

NOTES: Among those not practicing Wednesday were WR A. J. Green (concussion) and WR James Wright (knee), as well as TE Jermaine Gresham (back) and RB Cedrick Peerman (concussion). … WR Dane Sanzenbacher (concussion) was placed on injured reserve and WR Cobi Hamilton was activated from the practice squad.


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