CINCINNATI >> It’ll be known around these parts as “The Meltdown.”
With a chance to finally end their playoff futility, the Bengals let it all slip away.
A fumble, a defensive lapse, and two ugly penalties set up Pittsburgh’s winning field goal for an 18-16 victory on Saturday night — the second-most crushing playoff loss in Cincinnati history.
They solidified their reputation as a team that can’t keep it together in the big games.
The Bengals (12-5) won the AFC North and tied the club record for victories in a season. They’d won a dozen only two other times — in 1981 and 1988, when they went to the Super Bowl and lost to the 49ers both times. The 1988 season ended with Joe Montana leading a last-minute touchdown drive aided when the Bengals dropped an interception.
In this one, they lost not only their cool, but their credibility.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones — players with a history of getting out of control — drew personal fouls that moved the Steelers in range for the…