Bengals Clinch Playoff Berth With 24-14 Win Over 49ers

The Cincinnati Bengals will be going to the playoffs for the fifth straight season. The Bengals beat the San Francisco 49ers 24-14 to lock up a playoff berth with an 11-3 record. The 49ers are now 4-10 with losses in four of their last five games. 

A.J. McCarron wasn't great, but he played well enough to give the Bengals a win. He completed 15 of 21 passes for 192 yards and a TD against a 49ers' defense that's better than many think. A.J. Green needs more than one catch going forward. Most importantly, the McCarron didn't turn the ball over. 

The Bengals' running game struggled, which was a bit of a surprise. The team had just 68 yards on 36 carries, although Jeremy Hill did score two short touchdowns. The Bengals didn't produce a single run longer than nine yards. 

Asking Blaine Gabbert to throw the ball 50 times is not a recipe for success and that's exactly what happened this week. Gabbert completed 30 of 50 passes for 295 yards and a score, but was also picked off three times. 

The 49ers' offense has issues everywhere, but they have to run the ball more than 17 times. The team had just 55 yards on the ground, with Gabbert accounting for 10 of those. 

"They had turnovers, quite a few, and we didn't. That's the key to the game a lot of times." - McCarron. 

"We've got bigger and better goals. But that puts a smile on our faces." - LB Vontaze Burfict on clinching a playoff spot. 

"The fans are probably fed up, but to see them show up and cheer us on ... if we were winning, they would have stayed in the stadium. But we have to bring our own energy." - LB NaVorro Bowman on the 49ers' fans leaving. 

"I don't blame them. We're not fun to watch right now. Who wants to sit there and watch that?" - WR Torrey Smith. 

The Bengals don't need McCarron to be great. They just need him to avoid turnovers, make the occasional play and let the rest of the talent around him carry the team. Essentially, they need him to be regular season Andy Dalton from two years ago. But if McCarron coughs the ball up, the Bengals are in trouble. Just like they were with Dalton when he gave the ball away. 

The 49ers have almost no talent on offense right now. The running game is a non-factor and Blaine Gabbert still shows flashes of Jaguars Blaine Gabbert. Anquan Boldin is still chugging along, but this season has cost him one of his final years. Guys like Blake Bell and Quinton Patton have promise, but still have a long way to go. Torrey Smith's skills are being wasted in the offense. Unless the 49ers get a drastic influx of talent in the offseason (and keep Carlos Hyde healthy), next year could be another long one. 

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Related Topics: Bengals News, Blaine Gabbert, A.J. McCarron, 49ers News