Bengals get 1st playoff win in 31 years


Defeat Raiders, advance to AFC Divisional Round

By Del Duduit - PDT Sports Writer



Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) takes the ball from quarterback Joe Burrow (9) on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.

Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) takes the ball from quarterback Joe Burrow (9) on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.


Courtesy of Michael Huang

CINCINNATI – Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt picked off Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr’s fourth-down pass with 12 seconds left in the game, sealing the first playoff win in 31 years for Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday in front of a record 66,277 fans.

The Raiders were trying to tie the AFC Wild Card game when Pratt stepped in front of the pass at the Bengals’ two-yard line to secure the 26-19 win.

“Germaine Pratt – you know, it was really all those guys, but with Germaine, I thought it was very fitting because he’s been a guy that’s been all about taking the ball away,” Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after the win. “He’s always a guy that when we watch the tape, he’s trying to punch the ball out, rake it out, whatever he’s got to do. So for him to get the pick on the last play of the game, it’s really fitting of what he’s been all about.”

Pratt said he was reading Carr’s eyes the entire play.

“I think that’s the defensive player’s mindset,” he said. “They want to be in the game on the last drive. We want to close it out for them. That’s my mindset. I’m pretty sure Joey B would say, ‘put the ball in my hands’ and he’ll make a play.”

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns, and he completed 24 of 34 attempts in his playoff debut.

“We expect to beat everybody that we play, not just hang with them,” Burrow said. “I mean, it’s exciting. But this is expected. This isn’t like the icing on top of the cake or anything. This is the cake. So we’re moving on.”

Cincinnati rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase hauled in nine receptions for 116 yards, while tight end C.J. Uzomah had six catches for 64 yards and one TD.

Tyler Boyd caught four passes from Burrow for 26 yards, including a controversial score in the second quarter.

Toward the end of the first half, Burrow scrambled to the right side of the field and connected with Boyd for a 10-yard touchdown — boosting the Bengals’ lead to 20-6 with 1:52 remaining in the second quarter.

Burrow was nearly out of bounds, and a referee blew an errant whistle; however, play continued and the Bengals celebrated the score.

The officials did not address the whistle, and the play stood as called on the field.

Taylor and Burrow said they never heard a whistle from the official before the pass was thrown.

“No, I didn’t hear any whistle,” Burrow said after the game.

He added that score before the second half was a pivotal play.

“They dropped eight, and they kind of had a spy on me, so I knew I could sit back in the pocket a little bit,” Burrow added. “I found a little escape route, and I was telling the guys all week that the big plays would come in scramble situations because they’re so good at limiting the big plays, and we kind of turned it around in that situation. It was a big turning point in the game.”

Carr, who made his playoff debut as an eight-year veteran, finished the game with 310 yards passing and completed 29 of 54 attempts with one TD and one interception.

He led the Raiders on a scoring drive when he found Zay Jones in the end zone — with 13 seconds in the first half to cut the Bengals lead to 20-13.

The Bengals added to their lead in the first drive of the third — when Even McPherson nailed his third of four field goals to put the lead at 23-13.

Cincinnati struggled defensively when the team’s best pass rusher, Trey Hendrickson, left the game to be evaluated for a concussion.

Defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi was also carted off the field with a right ankle injury.

“We had a lot of guys go down on the defensive line,” defensive end Sam Hubbard said. “But we had guys step up and just had to grind it out. We were trying to keep (Derek Carr) in the pocket, doubling guys on the back end. Just grinding it out, keeping them out of the end zone, doing whatever we could.”

On the next drive, the Raiders settled for a field goal, cutting the deficit to 23-16.

But the Bengals responded when Burrow connected with Chase on a back-shoulder completion and a 19-yard gain.

Burrow then found Uzomah down the middle for 29 yards near the red zone.

“I knew it was coming to me,” Uzomah said. “I knew he was going to throw it, and I was going to have to hold on. Right when I turned and saw his eyes, I knew the ball was coming.”

The teams traded field goals to set the stage for Pratt’s heroics — and Cincinnati’s first playoff win in more than three decades.

“I’m happy for the city,” Taylor added. “I think the city can finally exhale. I get that. We haven’t felt that pressure, I’ll be quite honest – me maybe more so than the players, because I’m out more in the offseason and talk to people. I’m just really, really happy for the city of Cincinnati and hope they get a chance to enjoy this. And now, we’ll just exhale and enjoy the ride because we’re not done yet.”

Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) takes the ball from quarterback Joe Burrow (9) on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/01/web1_Mixon-Burrow-1.jpgBengals running back Joe Mixon (28) takes the ball from quarterback Joe Burrow (9) on Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19. Courtesy of Michael Huang
Defeat Raiders, advance to AFC Divisional Round

By Del Duduit

PDT Sports Writer

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved