Bengals beat 49ers; clinch playoff berth - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Bengals beat 49ers; clinch playoff berth

SAN FRANCISCO (FOX19) -

The Bengals have clinched a spot in the playoffs a fifth straight season after beating the San Francisco 49ers 24-14.

The Bengals defense forced four San Francisco turnovers and Jeremy Hill scored two touchdowns as the Bengals improved to 11-3 on the season to clinch at least a wild card spot in the AFC playoffs.

"I almost feel bad for them," said head coach Marvin Lewis after addressing the team. "They didn't really enjoy it (clinching a spot in the playoffs). I had to tell them to smile."

Quarterback A.J. McCarron completed 15 of 21 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown in his first career NFL start. But, the defense carried the Bengals to the win holding San Francisco to just two third down conversion on 14 attempts.

"There was good moments and there was bad moments," said McCarron. "(We) Didn't turn the ball over (which is) a positive. We've got to finish better as a group. But, another week of practice together is going to do us good."

The 49ers closed to within 24-14 in the fourth quarter and recovered an onside kick, but safety Shawn Williams intercepted a Blaine Gabbert pass in the end zone to seal the win.

"Obviously, we put a lot of the load on our defense given the situation on the offense," said defensive end Carlos Dunlap. "As a defense, that's something we put in our mind - get more turnovers. We did what we had to to do to win today."

The Bengals did not clinch the AFC North as the Pittsburgh Steelers came back to beat the Denver Broncos. 

"I'm feeling really good and I want the bye week. And I want to be home,” said Bengals fan Bob Luchsinger

"And obviously if we can get a bye, that's huge. Give Andy a chance to get healthy and come back,” said Bengals Steve Warden.

The Bengals play at Denver next Monday night in a game that'll be a major deciding factor in who gets a first round bye in the playoffs. 

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