NEW ORLEANS — Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase teamed up to lead the Bengals to a 30-26 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at the Caesars Superdome.
The former college teammates connected on a 60-yard touchdown pass with 1:57 to play to put the Bengals (3-3) ahead for good.
“That was an unbelievable play by him,” Burrow said about Chase.
The two played together at Louisiana State University, where they won a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2019. “When the going gets tough, I’m going to try to find that guy and he’s going to make plays for us……I’m never surprised by that guy.”
Chase made defenders miss after he caught the pass from Burrow, and weaved his way into the end zone to boost the Bengals back into a tie for first place in the AFC North with Baltimore (3-3.)
“Breaking a lot of tackles. We threw him a back shoulder fade,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Ja’Marr and Joe just do a great job with that type of chemistry. I think he shrugged off the initial one, and then he kind of outran the coverage on the safety. That’s what he does. He is a special player. He almost got us one earlier in the game on a just a quick out. He almost broke one and took it. This time, he finished it off, which was good to see.”
Chase finished the game with seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
“Me and Joe were on the same page with the back shoulder,” Chase said, “He threw me that way I could make a guy miss. I saw Tyrann (Mathieu) coming, and I just made a play with my feet.
The win was important in the fact that the Bengals were able to hold on to the lead at the end of the game.
“There’s always belief, as you guys have seen. We’ve come back and taken leads or tied after we’ve been behind, but you need to finish one off,” Taylor said. “Again, we found a way to win. We needed to win one like this. We needed to win one on the road like this. I don’t think the team needed it for its confidence, but it’s good to put in your back pocket and say, we’ve been in a hostile environment. We’re going to be in other hostile environments this season. If the season goes the way you want, you’re going to be in a lot of these. I’m just proud of the way the guys bowed up in the fourth quarter and made the plays we needed to and snuck out of here with a win.”
Burrow completed 28 of 37 passes for 300 yards with three TDs in the air, and added one on the ground on a 19-yard scramble in the second quarter to keep the game within reach.
“It was what we needed. What we needed,” Taylor said. “Again, they get in that middle red zone, and that’s where their problem pressures show up, and Joe did a good job stepping up through there. Guys were trying to protect it. It’s a tough protection issue you have there. He kind of understands where the void is if you pull through that crack. There’s a chance to go, and that’s what he did.”
The Bengals’ defense played well and allowed the Saints 399 yards on 71 plays.
When Taylor needed it the most, the unit earned its first three-and-out since the opening drive, with two minutes to go in the game.
Defensive ends Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson combined for 10 tackles, while Germaine Pratt led the way with 14.
“I’ll group those guys together because they’re just relentless, and they keep after the quarterback on every snap, Taylor said. “Whether they’re getting hits, the pressures or the sacks, I promise you they feel it because it’s close. When the moment gets big, Trey stepped up and made the play. Again, that’s what we’re counting on from Trey. He stepped up and made the play when we needed it. Just proud of him and Sam and that entire group.”
Saints quarterback Andy Dalton, who spent nine seasons in Cincinnati, threw for 162 yards and completed 17 of 32 passes with one touchdown.
“I appreciate Andy so much,” Taylor said. “What he went through with me and by my side that whole first year. When he gets his opportunities, he makes the most of it. He’s done a great job down here when his number has been called. He did a great job in that game.”
Cincinnati will host Atlanta (3-3) on Sunday at Paycor Stadium.
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