In a game where 73 combined points were scored, four lead changes occurred and the final point differential was just one point, there’s bound to be a plethora of highlights. In the case of the Bengals’ 37-36 victory over the Falcons, we have the pleasure of reviewing the very best plays of the game because the Bengals came out on top.
The Bengals won the game in the final seconds of the matchup, but there’s plenty of other plays that deserve recognition. Which was your favorite play of the game?
These are your choices:
Tyler Eifert’s 15-yard touchdown reception
This game ended in an unfortunately familiar way for the Bengals tight end, as he was carted off the field with a dislocated ankle in the third quarter. Before his season ended however, he represented the first 6 points of the day for Cincinnati, and scored his first touchdown since the 2016 season.
After being motioned into the play-side slot, Eifert and wide receiver A.J. Green in the field-side slot run nod routes towards the end zone, putting the single-high safety in a bind. The safety chooses to cut off Green, leaving Eifert wide open and giving quarterback Andy Dalton an easy throw.
Geno Atkins’ sack to force a turnover on downs
The sole defensive highlight from the first-half for both teams, Atkins’ finishes a bull rush off a twist with Sam Hubbard and takes Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to the ground. It was still early in the game, but the sense that both offenses couldn’t be stopped seemed to already be established.
This sack and stopped fourth-down conversion shifted the tide towards Cincinnati for the first-half, which ended with the Bengals leading by four.
Giovani Bernard’s 10-yard touchdown run
Bernard finished with two touchdowns and two rushes that went for 10+ yards, and his first score was one of each. Thanks to excellent edge blocking from wide receiver John Ross and motioned-tight end Tyler Kroft, Bernard is able to take advantage of a one-on-one with Falcons cornerback Robert Alford in the open field.
The Bengals running back baits him inside, which compromises Alford’s contain, and there’s no to stop Bernard from strolling into the end zone.
Mark Walton’s 24-yard catch and run
Bernard was able to stay fresh for most of the game because of their rookie tailback Walton.
Though he didn’t find much success running the ball, Walton’s best play of the day came off this flat route off of play action. The vertical routes from the play-side free up space for Walton to turn up field and get the first down and much more. That spin move was silky smooth as well.
John Ross’ 39-yard touchdown reception
Coming into the game, the Falcons had major problems at safety. They had already lost Keanu Neal for the year in Week 1 before Ricardo Allen suffered the same fate last week. Yet, the Falcons defensive scheme deploys a single-high safety regardless of personnel.
The Bengals took advantage once again with complimenting vertical routes on both sides of the hash marks, and this time, Ross is wide open to haul in his second touchdown of the year—while injuring his groin simultaneously.
Carlos Dunlap’s momentum-stopping sack
After the aforementioned Eifert injury, it felt like a tidal wave hit the Bengals. They were forced to punt for the first time all day two plays after Eifert left, and that punt was blocked. The Falcons took over inside the Bengals’ own 10-yard line, but thanks to a tackle for loss from Atkins and a subsequent Carlos Dunlap sack shown below, the Falcons were forced to settle for a field goal.
Carl Lawson’s redemption sack
Just before the end of the third quarter, it appeared as if Lawson finally notched a sack in 2018. Unfortunately, he was called for roughing the passer for his takedown on Ryan and four plays, the Falcons took the lead 33-31 via a 30-yard touchdown from Ryan to Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley.
The time the Falcons had the ball, Lawson got his redemption with perhaps his most finesse pass rush move in his NFL career. The sack set up a long third and goal which the Falcons failed to convert and they were forced to kick a field goal, keeping the Bengals within one score for their final drive.
Tyler Boyd’s SECOND fourth-down converting reception
The Bengals final drive featured multiple heart-stopping moments, including a few close calls with Dalton facing blindside pressure. As the drive progressed, Dalton looked to Boyd to convert a fourth-and-eight with just over a minute remaining after nearly throwing an interception his way, and Boyd caught a wide-open curl route. Dalton would then target Boyd with the game on the line soon thereafter.
After running a deadly whip route, Boyd caught Dalton’s pass cleanly and looked upfield to get the remaining yards to the sticks. Just before he crossed the invisible yellow line, Boyd gave up his body and dove for the first down, which resulted in his head getting sandwiched between the ground and Damontae Kazee.
A gutsy play from a gutsy player for sure, which also boosted the Bengals chances of winning by 28%.
A.J. Green’s game-winning 13-yard touchdown reception
Does this rank in your top 5 Dalton-Green moments? It might for me.
A route that the duo have hit on so many times before works to absolute perfection, and results in a near-buzzer beater on the road to conclude a shootout that past Bengals teams probably don’t win. This could end up being a defining moment for the 2018 Bengals, and it was a one of the best highlights from the NFL this week.
Which play gets your vote for the Bengals’ Play of the Game against the Falcons?
This poll is closed
Walton’s catch and run
Boyd’s fourth down conversion
Was your favorite play not included? Let us know in the comments!