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Bengals squander 4th quarter lead, tie with Eagles

Joe Burrow was nearly unstoppable in regulation, but the Bengals blew a late lead and finished in a tie with the Eagles.

The Bengals and Eagles tied for the second time in series history, in a game neither team deserved to win.

Joe Burrow got off to a slow start, but once he got going he was unstoppable in regulation. Burrow completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 312 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a rating of 105.5. The only strike against him is that he took eight sacks and lost 56 yards between them.

In overtime, Burrow was only 3/7 with three sacks.

Tyler Boyd was Burrow’s favorite target in this game. Boyd caught 10 of 13 targets for 125 yards. Tee Higgins caught five of his nine targets for 40 yards and two touchdowns.

The Eagles tried to exploit the Bengals run defense, and nearly succeeded. Myles Sanders rushed 15 times for 90 yards, but most of his damage was done in the first half. After halftime, the Eagles only had 40 rushing yards in regulation.

The Bengals failed to sack Wentz on their first two opportunities. Both Carl Lawson and Sam Hubbard had him dead to rights in the backfield, but Wentz escaped and extended the drive. The second missed sack resulted in a 12-yard run with a 15-yard penalty tacked on to it. Hubbard finally got through on third and goal to force the Eagles to settle for a field goal. Jake Elliott’s 27-yard field goal was good and the Eagles had an early 3-0 one play into the second quarter.

Alex Erickson gave the Bengals a 19-yard punt return, and the Eagles added a 15-yard penalty to the end of the return. But the Bengals first play after that was a false start from which they never recovered. On fourth-and-two, Randy Bullock tied the game with a 48-yard field goal with 7:33 remaining in the half.

The Bengals defense kept getting the Eagles to third-and-long, but the Eagles kept the ball moving anyways, gaining 44 yards on third downs in the next drive. The Bengals finally stopped the Eagles on third down, and Elliott hit a 42-yard kick to put the Eagles up 6-3 with 2:47 left in the half.

In the final moments of the half, Burrow more than doubled his passing yardage total of the half. Burrow had 55 passing yards, spreading the ball to Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, Tee Higgins, and Giovani Bernard. A pass interference call on the Eagles put the ball on the goal line, where he passed to Higgins for his first career touchdown. After the extra point, the Bengals had the first lead of the game, 10-6 with 1:29 left in the half.

Bullock’s kickoff went out of bounds, so the Eagles had good starting position. The Eagles got the ball to Greg Ward for a 29-yard touchdown in the waning seconds of the half. Elliott’s extra point made the score 13-10 with the Eagles stealing the lead before halftime.

On the first drive of the second half, the Eagles targeted Zach Ertz several times, and he made spectacular catches every time. The Bengals forced a 54-yard attempt from Elliott, and the Eagles increased their lead to 16-10 with 8:39 to go in the third quarter.

Burrow connected with Boyd four times on the next drive, two of which went for the teams’ first two third-down conversions. The two totaled for 55 yards before Burrow connected with Higgins for their second touchdown. Bullocks extra point gave the Bengals the 17-16 lead with 2:22 left in the third quarter.

Burrow’s pass to Higgins was his 11th straight completion.

The Bengals got the ball back two plays later on LeShaun Sims’ first career interception. Burrow got to the red zone and targeted Tate twice, but the Bengals had to settle for a 31-yard field goal. The Bengals were up 20-16 with 14:52 left in the game.

On the Bengals’ next drive, the Bengals were in third-and-15 when Bernard ripped off a 41-yard screen down to the red zone. The Bengals couldn’t get into the end zone, but Bullock hit a 25-yard chip shot to put the Bengals up by seven points, 23-16 with 3:05 remaining.

The Bengals needed a stop, but gave up two defensive penalties on back-to-back plays. The Eagles got to the seven-yard line, and the Bengals put pressure on Wentz only to have him escape the pocket and score with his legs. The extra point tied the game at 23 with 21 seconds left to go.

The Bengals traded punts with the Eagles until the clock ran down below two minutes. The Eagles won the field position battle and approached the edge of field goal range. Elliott came on to make the 59-yard field goal with 19 seconds left, but a false start pushed the line of scrimmage back. The Eagles opted to punt instead, which effectively ended the game.

The Bengals and Eagles both avoid their third loss of the season at 0-2-1.