T.J. Ward will have his neck evaluated further Tuesday after the team has returned from Cincinnati. Ward left the game with a neck injury with just under eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Ward had tackled Bengals running back Giovani Bernard on a 2-yard gain on third-and-5 that had begun at the Broncos' 7-yard line. Ward got pinned at the bottom of the pile. "X-rays were negative that I took [Monday], but I still got to go get it checked," Ward said. "I hit him, it was actually to the side of him, and then Von [Miller] landed on top of him, landed on top of me, and it went all the way back. Just the weight of all the people falling on me." Asked if he had lost feeling in any of his limbs briefly following the hit, Ward added; "I don't want to discuss it until I figure it out. … I've had enough stingers to know what they feel like; this was a little different."
The Broncos lost their last chance at home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs but still can clinch a first-round bye if they can win their regular-season finale Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. "All this loss did was make next week's game a must win," said defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. And in a locker room full of players in no real mood to search for good things from the game, Miller said; "We can't play that type of football."
Running back C.J. Anderson took a page from fellow California alum Marshawn Lynch's postgame interview playbook following Monday's loss. Anderson was asked three questions and answered; "Played terrible; just got to get better. Look at the tape and get ready for next week." He then followed with "Just played terrible tonight; all we can do is try to get better next week." Anderson then followed with his next answer; "Just played terrible; got to get ready for next week."
The numbers were staggering, but the Broncos' special-teams units consistently surrendered field position the Broncos desperately needed for themselves. The Bengals had 72 punt return yards, including a 49-yarder from Brandon Tate, to go with 134 kickoff return yards from Adam Jones, including an 80-yarder. "The kicking game, as far as coverage, kind of broke down," said Broncos head coach John Fox. I think we gave up 200 return yards, which didn't help our cause."