Sunday November 10th, 2013

A.J. Green's improbable catch sent the game into overtime. A.J. Green's improbable catch sent the game into overtime. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The cardinal rule for defensive players on Hail Mary attempts: knock the ball down. Baltimore's James Ihedigbo did just the opposite on the Bengals' last-gasp attempt Sunday.

Cincinnati, once down 17-0 to the defending champs, needed 51 yards on the final play of regulation to force overtime. Andy Dalton heaved one into a mass of players, and Ihedigbo had a chance to bat the ball down after it tipped out of the pile. But instead he tipped it back behind him, right into the waiting arms of A.J. Green, who calmly hauled it in for the TD.

The Bengals hit the extra point to tie the game at 17, stunning the crowd at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.

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Unfortunately for the Bengals, the rally was all for naught. Despite winning the overtime coin toss and marching to Baltimore's 33, the Bengals failed to come away with any points as a 4th-and-2 pass to Gio Bernard resulted in an 11-yard loss.

Baltimore then moved to the Cincinnati 28, from where Justin Tucker hit a game-winning field goal -- relegating Green's catch to a thrilling footnote.

A game between the Titans and Lions last season ended in similar fashion. Detroit backup QB Shaun Hill sent that contest to overtime with a Hail Mary TD to Titus Young (remember him?) on the final play, only for the Titans to win in overtime. Baltimore's victory could hold more importance than that Tennessee's triumph ultimately did. The setback was Cincinnati's second straight, dropping its record to 6-4, just 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland and Baltimore (and 2.5 up on Pittsburgh) in the AFC North. The Bengals still play all three of those teams over the final seven weeks of the season, starting with a visit from 4-5 Cleveland next week.

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