Jerome Simpson came out for pregame introductions wearing a Santa hat. During Saturday’s game against Arizona, he provided a present that will be among the top plays of the week, and maybe the season.
During the second quarter, Simpson had a 19-yard touchdown reception from Andy Dalton where he somersaulted over Arizona’s Daryl Washington at the Cardinals 2 and nailed the landing three yards deep in the end zone.
For a game that was blacked out in the area due to it not being a sellout, the play made highlight news quickly, and Twitter discussions began, along with clips being posted on NFL.com and YouTube.
“It was one of things that just came (on) instinct. I just wanted to make a play for my team and get in the end zone,” said Simpson, who had five catches for 42 yards in the 23-16 win over the Cardinals.
“It seemed like he was going to hit me and I didn’t want to get hit, and I used my athletic ability and my jumping ability.”
On second-and-8 at the Cardinals 19 and the Bengals already up 10-0, Simpson, who was lined up on the far right side of the play, ran an underneath crossing route as he came across the middle. He caught it at the 17 and had a large amount of real estate due to Cedric Benson clearing things out when he ran a wheel route.
With Washington bearing down near the goal line, Simpson could not run right as there was traffic near the goal line. Since he couldn’t run left because he was right on the sideline, Simpson took the best available route – in the air.
Simpson has made some leaps during games before, but what made this one stand out is that he stuck the landing in the end zone. Simpson’s left hand briefly hit the turf, which for him prevented it from being a perfect 10.
Said Simpson of the landing: “Yeah, that was one of the key points (of the play), me sticking the landing. I don’t think if I stuck the landing, it wouldn’t have been as exciting. But you know, I stuck the landing like a gymnast. A lot of the guys gave me a (perfect) ‘10’ on it. I think it was like a 9 maybe, because I touched the ground (with my hand) a little bit. But I just wanted to make a great play for my team – you know, have a merry Christmas and just be happy.”
Washington said he thought Simpson was going to jump, but that he didn’t know what to expect, especially with a play in the open field.
“The guy made a great catch and we kind of laughed about it. I told him ‘Don’t be jumpin’ on me like that,’ but he made a great play,” Washington said.
The play was another in what has been a roller-coaster ride for Simpson.
There have been times when he has made great catches due to his athleticism, but other games where he hasn’t been a factor.
After Saturday’s game, Simpson has 45 receptions for 671 yards and four touchdowns.
One person who didn’t see Simpson’s flip was coach Marvin Lewis, who did not seem amused about the play.
Said Lewis: “No, I heard about it. He’s got that kind of athleticism.”
Others, though, continued to rave about it, including Dalton, who had a nice view of the play.
Even A.J. Green said that could have been the most athletic play he has seen on a field.
“You could see he kind of slowed down. I knew he was going to jump,” Dalton said. “To see him jump and land on his feet shows his athletic ability. He’s got a lot of talent. That was an unbelievable play.”
This did mark the first time that Simpson has talked in nearly three months. Prior to Saturday, the last time he addressed the media was Sept. 29, when he talked for eight seconds.
On Sept. 20, a 2.5-pound package of marijuana was shipped to Simpson’s home, where he was questioned.
The investigation by local and California authorities is still ongoing and Simpson has not been charged.
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Source : wew