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.