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Marvin Lewis wastes his challenges early

Cincinnati Bengals' Bensen falls into the end zone next to Houston Texans' Dobbins, scoring a touchdown against the Texans in the first quarter during their NFL AFC wildcard playoff football game in Houston Reuters

The Cincinnati Bengals had better hope there aren’t any bad calls that go against them in the second half, because they used up their challenges in the first.

In an otherwise well-played half of football today in Houston, the game’s biggest mistakes may have been those by Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who twice used challenges on calls that were ruled correctly — and that weren’t even close enough to merit a challenge.

On the first challenge, Cedric Benson was tackled half a yard short of a first down, and for some reason Lewis decided to challenge even though it was easy to see that Benson had come down short of the 30-yard line, which was the line to gain on the drive, which started with a touchback. On the second challenge, Lewis thought Bengals linebacker Thomas Howard might have intercepted a pass caught by Texans tight end Owen Daniels, but it was clear that it was simultaneous possession, which goes to the offense.

If there aren’t any close calls that go against the Bengals in the second half, this won’t be an issue. But as Lions coach Jim Schwartz learned last week, coaches who use up their challenges early sometimes come to regret it: The Lions lost what should have been a touchdown on a bad call that they weren’t able to challenge. Lewis can only hope the same doesn’t happen to him.

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37 Responses to “Marvin Lewis wastes his challenges early”
  1. discosucs2005 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:07 PM

    The first one was ridiculous. After the challenge they went ahead and picked it up anyway. It cost them at the end of the half.

  2. edmazeing1 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:08 PM

    pick 6 Palmer, Nope pick 6 Dalton!!!

  3. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Jan 7, 2012 6:08 PM

    People don’t wanna listen to me, Marvin Lewis is a weird beard !

  4. profootballwalk says: Jan 7, 2012 6:08 PM

    Marvin Lewis = Herm Edwards.

  5. trbowman says: Jan 7, 2012 6:12 PM

    Listening to Rodney Harrison makes me sad.

  6. khuxford says: Jan 7, 2012 6:14 PM

    In fairness, the announcers originally thought he should challenge that reception one. The spot challenge was utterly idiotic. You have another down to get the 1st and spot challenges are notoriously difficult to win.

    When I saw that happen, I felt so much more confidence in my wagers…

  7. johnnycash19 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:15 PM

    The thing is, the calls that Jim Schwartz challenged actually needed to be challenged. The ones Marvin Lewis challenged made you say “What the heck is he doing?”

  8. FinFan68 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:15 PM

    Those were some dumb challenges. The game has been pretty good so far.

    Watt’s pick was one of the best plays by a D-lineman all year

  9. cletusvandam says: Jan 7, 2012 6:16 PM

    If Houston gave the ball to A Foster every play this game would be a blowout. Yates is a horrible QB and yet Houston refuses to run.

  10. yatista says: Jan 7, 2012 6:18 PM

    Both of the challenges by Schwartz were legitimate. He did not cost him the touchdown, the ref’s did. They, to be on the safe side as they are in most cases should have called it a touchdown then it would have automatically been reviewed. Why, oh why, did you ever mention the Lions in this article?

  11. descendency says: Jan 7, 2012 6:20 PM

    It’s OK. The Bengals waste their coaching spot on Marvin Lewis.

  12. 10kmp says: Jan 7, 2012 6:21 PM

    What an absolute clinic on how NOT to use the challenge system. The first red flag Lewis threw was a questionable decision at best, but the second challenge was unfathomable. The Daniels play was a clear catch IMO. It wasn’t simultaneous possession. Daniels had both hands securely on the football. Thomas came in late, and wrestled the ball out of Daniels’ hands LONG after it should have been ruled a catch. Who is in the booth for Cincinnati telling Lewis to challenge this stuff?!?!?! How could he be so freakin careless with his two challenges in a win or go home game, and in a league where the officiating leaves so much to be desired???

  13. ticalcaldwell says: Jan 7, 2012 6:22 PM

    bad challenges = no points before halftime

  14. sammievee says: Jan 7, 2012 6:24 PM

    Coaching screwup already significantly in play. End of half, with Cinci getting second half kick, rookie qb trying to run two minute drill with ONE TIME OUT after coach burned two on bad challenges. QB runs 15 yds for first down, normally a good time to burn a remaining time out. But…..he was nursing only one time out. So what happened on the following play as he tried to dump the ball off?

  15. JackLeone says: Jan 7, 2012 6:25 PM

    If it’s not a change of possession or scoring play there’s no need to challenge. It was third & one, they challenged lost, then ran a QB sneak; first down. It almost seemed like he wanted to challenge just to get that part of the game out of the way

  16. jetfan28 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:28 PM

    Oh come on eighlesnosuperbowl. The black coach comparison of Edwards and Lewis? Be original. You are like those “analysts” that compares Welker to Jordy Nelson because they are both white.

  17. jetfan28 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:31 PM

    Lewis did the same thing in his last playoff game in 09 against the Jets. Wow. You almost never see this and he did this in his last two playoff games. That’s bad coaching.

  18. briang123 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:32 PM

    Lewis wasted. Both of his challenges early the last time the Bungles played in the wild card game.

  19. letsgosharks says: Jan 7, 2012 6:32 PM

    Bruce Coslet wouldnt of botched those challenges.

  20. rodgers419 says: Jan 7, 2012 6:42 PM

    Dumb challenges. Even more dumb is that coaches are responsible for correcting referee incompetence.

  21. mangoldbond says: Jan 7, 2012 6:58 PM

    He’s got a history of doing this. He did this in the game against the Jets 2 years ago I remember Deion saying he needs more friends upstairs in the booth.

  22. sammievee says: Jan 7, 2012 7:03 PM

    After bungling the first, he knew he had to save the second for a critical situation. And yet, he used the second on a play that wouldn’t have justified its usage, even had he won the challenge and the play was ruled incomplete. It’s a punch in the stomach to his players, who know damn well what the coach cost the team.

    Isn’t there one individual on that coaching staff who could explain the situation to the boss?

  23. mangoldbond says: Jan 7, 2012 7:34 PM

    Shoulda hired Jim Tressel…

  24. dachozen1 says: Jan 7, 2012 7:35 PM

    It’s not the reason why the Bengals lost but another hitting a defensless player penalty. This league is a joke. No, I am far from a Bengals fan!

  25. 50milessouthofdetroit says: Jan 7, 2012 7:41 PM

    those were DUMB challenges indeed. that said, they need to get rid of this stupid challenge system and go to the ncaa style for replay. then we likely wouldn’t have time to listen to that blowhard mike periera

  26. joetoronto says: Jan 7, 2012 7:46 PM

    Bad coaching, bad playing.

  27. gcsuk says: Jan 7, 2012 8:09 PM

    JackLeone says:
    Jan 7, 2012 6:25 PM
    If it’s not a change of possession or scoring play there’s no need to challenge. It was third & one, they challenged lost, then ran a QB sneak; first down. It almost seemed like he wanted to challenge just to get that part of the game out of the way
    ———————————————————
    Lewis challenged the spot after 2nd Down and 1, NOT 3rd Down and 1. Which made it even stupider by Lewis. They knew they had a 3rd down left to get less than half a yard. 2 idiotic moves in 1 half.

    Can we please stop hearing about what a great coach this guy is? 2 playoff appearances (both losses) in 9 years? Really? That’s what constitutes “great coach” these days?

  28. win1soon says: Jan 7, 2012 10:16 PM

    He’s not that good of coach not sure how he has kept his job for the past 9 yrs (?), with minimal playoff appearances!

  29. numberonesteelerhater says: Jan 7, 2012 10:29 PM

    This team will get no further than what they are today as long as Marvin lewis is the coach. As long as he is the coach, it keeps Mike Brown from the trouble of finding a coach cheap enough to coach this team. I’ll bet Andy Dalton will be the next Carson Palmer story and leaves disgruntled just like Carson.

  30. letsgosharks says: Jan 7, 2012 10:56 PM

    Might be time to let Lewis go.As a Raider fan I’d take him as our defensive coordinator anyway.

  31. gdeli says: Jan 7, 2012 11:26 PM

    fire hime! enough incompetence.

  32. polegojim says: Jan 7, 2012 11:31 PM

    Bye Marvin – another decent guy…. who is not HC material.

    Will Cincinnati grow a pair and move on, or continue to accept mediocrity???

  33. em0909153 says: Jan 7, 2012 11:48 PM

    Not that Kubiak fits like the guy who looks like a real coach since he’s done nothing before this year. But this says it all for all Bengal backers and or fans. Marvin Lewis = overmatched doofus.

    RULE NO. 4: When in doubt, check out the coaching matchups
    An easy rule of thumb: Before you make a selection, imagine you’re watching the game and seeing one of those split-screen thingies with both coaches pacing the sidelines. Could you handle knowing that you backed the coach who looks like the overmatched doofus? For instance, six years ago, I took Miami over Buffalo simply because I didn’t want to see a spilt-screen shot and know that I gambled on the doofus (Wade Phillips) over the guy who looked like a real coach (Jimmy Johnson). Sounds stupid? It worked. Buffalo doubled Miami’s yardage and dominated the time of possession … yet they still blew the game with four turnovers. Go figure.

  34. rkingndayton says: Jan 8, 2012 12:20 AM

    Marvin needs to be fired over this game. Bad coaching and terrible tackling.

    Was anyone else asking themselves why the Bengals were PASSING with 1:40 left in the first half? Run the ball and get it back after the half…..that turnover by Watts was the turning point in the game IMO.

  35. yevrag3535 says: Jan 8, 2012 12:44 AM

    Fire the bum.

  36. sportsrube90 says: Jan 8, 2012 3:08 AM

    Lewis has made this Bengal’s team much better than I thought they could this year. With that said though, I still don’t think Marvin Lewis is that great of a coach. 0-3 now in the playoffs as well. Not saying he should be fired because this year he did a good job. But he is not a coach who I think will ever get you very far. And thru the 8 or 9 years he has been in Cincy he has shown that he can’t take a team far.

  37. db105 says: Jan 8, 2012 5:15 AM

    Game mismanagement is very understated in most discussions.

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