Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis believes Jermaine Gresham's fourth-quarter touchdown should have been upheld by replay because it didn't violate the "Calvin Johnson rule."
In the interpretation of referee Ron Winter, Gresham was still a receiver when he went to the ground after getting two feet inbounds and he lost control of the ball momentarily when it touched the ground. Lewis argued that Gresham had made a second move and had gone from being a receiver into a runner.
“I think Jermaine performed a second act in reaching the ball. He got two feet clearly down, and performed a second act of reaching the ball,” Lewis said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t see how you can overturn it not being conclusive.”
It was a game-changing play because the Bengals would have cut the deficit to three points with 5 1/2 minutes left in the game. Instead, Cincinnati trailed by seven points and needed a touchdown at the end to tie the game.
Hensley's slant: As I stated after the game, it was the right call by the officials but a bad rule. While this was a controversial play, the Bengals only have themselves to blame for putting themselves in position of playing catch-up. It would have been a different game in the fourth quarter if Andy Dalton didn't throw two interceptions and the defense didn't allow two quick touchdowns off those turnovers.
BROWNS: Running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring) was ruled out and will miss his sixth straight game. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he's hopeful that Hillis will play again this season. "Based on what [Hillis] is rehabbing, his hamstring, I'd anticipate that he'll be back soon," Shurmur said, via The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I can't tell you yet exactly, that's the thing. Each guy's different." Hensley's slant: The better question is whether Hillis will get any carries once he returns. There were multiple reports that the Browns have already decided to part ways with Hillis at the end of the season when he becomes a free agent. It would seem like the Browns' focus would be to see if Montario Hardesty is ready to carry the load next season.
RAVENS: Inside linebacker Ray Lewis returned to practice after sitting out all last week with a toe injury, according to MASNSports.com. This is an indication that Lewis is progressing. He also didn't walk with a limp. Lewis didn't answer questions after practice. Hensley's slant: It wouldn't be a surprise to see Lewis dancing after coming out of that tunnel Thanksgiving night. He thrives on challenges and the spotlight. Going against the 49ers' Frank Gore on national television meets that criteria.
STEELERS: Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) won't play Sunday night in Kansas City unless he makes significant progress this week, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Every day, you just push it a little more," Woodley said after the first practice following the bye. "The worst thing about a hamstring injury is that they take time to heal. If you take a look at guys across the league -- coming back too early, sometimes -- the next thing you know, they're out two to three more weeks. Those injuries can do those types of things, so you have to be careful." Hensley's slant: This is a disappointment considering there was hope that Woodley would return this week. The Steelers, though, are doing the right thing by being very careful with Woodley's injury, which can turn into a season-ending one if aggravated. Pittsburgh needs Woodley more in the playoffs, when the Steelers are chasing down the likes of Tom Brady and Joe Flacco, than in Kansas City.