Bengals should have let Giants score late in Monday night loss

The Bengals made a costly, and ultimately decisive, mistake on the Giants' final drive of a 21-20 Cincinnati loss Monday night.

On the play that sealed the game coming out of the two-minute warning, Giants running back Rashad Jennings should have been allowed to run for a touchdown and not get tackled. Once Jennings gained enough yards for a first down, the only way Cincinnati could have gotten the ball back would have been to allow the score. Otherwise, as we saw, the Giants could simply kneel out the clock.

The Giants may have been aware of this tactic since the Patriots used it against them at the end of Super Bowl XLVI. But in this case, had Jennings been aware of the ruse and taken a knee prior to scoring, the Bengals still would have been no worse off than if he were tackled -- New York would still have been able to go to the victory formation.

Assume the score happened with 1:50 left to play, and that the Giants kicked the extra point to go up by eight points (28-20). Now Cincinnati has nearly two minutes to score a touchdown and execute a two-point conversion to tie. The Bengals would have less than a 5 percent chance of winning according to our win probability model, which would require scoring, successfully going for two and then winning in overtime. Those might not seem like great odds, but either way, the Bengals squandered them.

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