The 29-13 score in the Cincinnati Bengals’ victory over the Las Vegas Raiders doesn’t reflect how hard the offense had to work to find points. The Bengals had to patiently wear down the Raiders defense until the fourth quarter, where they scored two of their three touchdowns while tacking on a field goal for good measure.
Due to the defensive nature of the game, the Bengals relied on rookie kicker Evan McPherson to put points on the board. He made three field goals of more than 50 yards to go with a 47-yarder, all of them having room to spare.
After this game, McPherson now has six 50-plus-yard field goals, half of which came against the Raiders.
Other than actual play on the field, two factors that worked in the Bengals’ favor were penalties and time of possession. The Raiders had seven penalties for 77 yards, while the Bengals only had a neutral zone infraction called against them for five yards. The Bengals possessed the ball for 37:09, and their defense was able to rest for almost 23 minutes.
SAM THE MAN— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 21, 2021
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On the first drive of the game, Burrow took a sack and coughed up the ball. The Raiders returned the fumble to the Bengals nine-yard line, but the Bengals defense held the Raiders to only two yards on the following series. Daniel Carlson make the easy kick, and the Raiders had an early 3-0 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Evan McPherson made his fourth field goal of 50 or more yards to tie up the game in the next drive. McPherson leveled the game with a 54-yard field goal, which is the long of his short career. With 7:40 to go in the opening quarter, the Bengals and Raiders had a 3-3 tie.
The Raiders kicked another field goal before either team could get into the end zone. Carlson made a 47-yarder to get the Raiders ahead 6-3 with 11:06 remaining in the second quarter, and left the Bengals needing an answer.
Burrow’s best receiver in the first half was Tyler Boyd, and Boyd contributed an important 14-yard completion to convert a second-and-long. Boyd helped out with another third-and-seven later on in the drive with another 14-yard catch. When the Bengals got into the red zone, Boyd drew a late hit penalty that got the Bengals a first and ten on the eleven. Joe Mixon, who had three runs for negative yards on each of the three first downs, took the ball to the right and dove for the pylon. He got in for an 11-yard touchdown run with 4:15 left in the second quarter, and the Bengals had a 10-6 lead after the extra point.
That was the last score of the half.
The game was very defensive in the first half, with both teams combining for only 229 yards. Boyd accounted for most of the Bengals’ yards with 42 receiving and 14 rushing on six total touches. For the Raiders, Darren Waller was far and away the most dangerous weapon they had, with 52 receiving yards in the half.
Ja’Marr Chase had been mostly bottled up in the first half, but Chase got the ball on the first play of the second half. The play went 18 yards, which was the longest gain of the day for the Bengals. The drive ended in a Burrow sack, but the rookie McPherson got points out of the drive with a 53-yard kick. This was the fifth field goal for McPherson of 50 or more yards, which broke the Bengals’ franchise record. Not only that, but it extended the Bengals lead to 13-6 with 6:04 to go in the third quarter.
When Bengals got the ball back, Mixon started the drive with an 18-yard gain but ended the drive with a five yard loss. That brought in McPherson to attempt another long field goal, which proved to be an automatic three points for the Bengals. McPherson made the 51-yarder, which was good for his third kick of more than 50 yards on the day. The long field goal gave the Bengals a 16-6 lead with 13:17 to go in the game.
The Raiders went back to the only thing that worked for them offensively, and that was passing to Waller. He had two catches on the first two plays of the drive, combined for 56 yards. The drive ended on a pass to a different tight end, as Foster Moreau hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown only took three plays and 95 seconds, and the Raiders were quickly shrinking the Bengals’ lead to 16-13 with 11:48 left in the game.
Mixon had been struggling to find room to run all game, but broke off a 19-yard run to get the offense into the red zone. The Bengals worked that into a first-and-goal, which they turned into Burrow’s first touchdown pass of the game. Burrow hit his favorite target, Chase, who tapped his toes in the corner of the end zone to secure the six-yard score. McPherson surprisingly missed the extra point, but the Bengals had a 22-13 lead with 5:03 to go in the game.
Eli Apple gave the Bengals the ball back with an interception for the Bengals’ first turnover of the game. Mixon got two carries on the next drive for 27 yards, the second of which was a 20-yard touchdown. McPherson made this extra point, and the Bengals had a 29-13 lead with 3:51 remaining.
The Raiders went into their four-minute offense and drove all the way down to the red zone. But they got stopped on a Trey Hendrickson strip-sack, and Sam Hubbard returned the fumble all the way back to Cincinnati territory. With that forced fumble, Hendrickson now has a sack in six straight games.
Hendrickson, Hubbard. Rinse, Repeat.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) November 21, 2021
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The Bengals ran the ball, forcing the Raiders to call all of their timeouts. The drive didn’t result in yards, but McPherson added another field goal, this time from only 47-yards. With only 64 seconds left in the game, the Bengals had a 32-13 lead.
The Raiders couldn’t do much with their final possession, so the Bengals took the 32-13 victory.
The Bengals’ record improved to 6-4 after the win against the Raiders. Their next game is in Paul Brown Stadium against the Steelers in a key divisional matchup. Depending on the outcome of their game on Sunday night, it could be a key game in the playoff race.