Home » Bengals’ defensive TD fuels wild-card win over Ravens

Bengals’ defensive TD fuels wild-card win over Ravens

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CINCINNATI — With out Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens weren’t anticipated to present the Cincinnati Bengals a lot of a battle Sunday evening of their wild-card matchup. However issues did not go as anticipated.

The Bengals did pull by way of with a 24-17 victory to arrange a divisional-round recreation in opposition to the Buffalo Payments, however it was a lot nearer than anticipated.

A 98-yard landing return of Tyler Huntley’s fumble on the objective line within the fourth quarter proved decisive.

Cincinnati Bengals

It is by no means simple in opposition to divisional rivals, even when it is alleged to be.

The 2 AFC North groups met for the second straight week because the Bengals beat a short-handed Ravens crew and celebrated back-to-back division titles. Regardless of the Ravens taking part in with out Jackson, Cincinnati was pushed to the brink at Paycor Stadium however survived.

Some huge performs from key gamers allowed the defending AFC champions to advance.

Pivotal play: With the Ravens a yard out from taking a lead within the fourth quarter, Cincinnati’s protection got here up with a large turnover. As Huntley tried to increase the ball over the objective line for a landing, linebacker Logan Wilson punched the ball out of Huntley’s grasp. It squirted free and defensive finish Sam Hubbard scooped it up for a 98-yard return landing, which is the longest in NFL historical past. It ended up being a 14-point swing and gave the Bengals a 24-17 lead with 11:39 left within the recreation.

QB breakdown: Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had some stellar moments. Burrow was 22-of-32 for 209 yards with a landing and no interceptions. With the crew trailing 10-9 within the third quarter, Burrow accomplished three straight passes, together with one on third-and-9, earlier than the quarterback capped the drive with a 1-yard landing run. He additionally scrambled out of the pocket and located large receiver Tee Higgins for a 2-point conversion that gave the Bengals a 17-10 lead.

Troubling pattern: Cincinnati’s offensive line will probably be an enormous query mark shifting ahead. Left deal with Jonah Williams was dominated out of the sport with a left knee harm. That leaves Cincinnati with out three beginning linemen if Williams and proper guard Alex Cappa can’t play in opposition to Buffalo within the divisional spherical. Burrow was sacked 4 occasions.

Beneath-the-radar stat: Hubbard’s 98-yard landing was the primary go-ahead fourth-quarter defensive landing in a playoff recreation for the reason that Buffalo Payments’ Jeff Burris had a pick-six off the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Mark Brunell within the 1996 wild-card spherical. The earlier longest fumble return within the playoffs was 93 yards by Andy Russell within the 1975 divisional playoffs vs. the Baltimore Colts — that means the town of Baltimore has been on the fallacious aspect of the 2 longest fumble returns in NFL postseason historical past.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens got here one yard from delivering considered one of their largest upsets in playoff historical past and proving to the soccer world that they’ll win with out Jackson, however Huntley’s fumble and the following return proved to be the distinction.

Huntley made a number of huge performs to maintain the 8-point underdog Ravens within the recreation. However his two turnovers have been expensive and led to 10 factors. Jackson, who missed his sixth straight recreation with a knee harm, didn’t journey with the crew to the sport.

Describe the sport in two phrases: One other heartbreaker. The season-ending loss adopted a well-recognized brutal pattern for Ravens — their sixth lack of the season after both having a lead or being tied within the fourth quarter.

Troubling pattern: Cornerback Marcus Peters was a legal responsibility in his return after lacking three video games with a calf harm. Within the first quarter, Peters’ taunting penalty — he bought within the face of Joe Mixon when mendacity on high of him — led to Cincinnati’s first landing. Within the third quarter, Peters was referred to as for defensive cross interference on a 2-point strive, and he then bought beat by Higgins for the conversion, placing the Bengals up 17-10. Peters is a free agent on the finish of the season.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: Huntley’s 41-yard landing cross to Demarcus Robinson within the third quarter was one of the crucial stunning performs of the sport. It was Huntley’s first try of the sport over 10 air yards, and it was Robinson’s first deep reception of the season. Robinson bought 4.7 yards of separation after faking out Bengals cornerback Eli Apple on a double transfer. The completion likelihood was 62.3%.

Beneath-the-radar stat that issues: Ravens are 6-1 all-time on the street within the wild-card spherical. Baltimore was the final remaining NFL crew that was undefeated in street wild-card video games.

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