Also, the Bengals needed the Raiders to beat the Cleveland Browns, and they got that.
Now in control of their own destiny, the Bengals have their sights on a division crown and their first playoff birth in six years. They close out with games against the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and a season finale against the Browns. They really can’t afford to lose another division game if they want to win the AFC North, and they can’t afford to lose both if they want to make the playoffs altogether.
But for now, the Bengals are celebrating a victory, which is something they haven’t done in a couple of weeks.
3 things we learned from the Bengals win against the Broncos
The Bengals’ defense will need another performance like that
Germaine Pratt had 15 tackles against the Broncos. He’ll need to put another performance like that together next week.
The first time the Bengals played the Ravens, they basically reverted to a base 4-3 defense. With the number of running backs and tight ends the Ravens use on offense, that makes more sense than playing out of nickel every snap.
The three linebackers in the middle of the field were Pratt, Logan Wilson, and Akeem Davis-Gaither.
Davis-Gaither is out for the year, Wilson is out for the time being, and Wilson’s replacement is out for the year.
That means that the linebackers for the Bengals will be Pratt, Markus Bailey, and...Keandre Jones? Austin Calitro?
It won’t be a secret who the Ravens are going to target on the Bengals’ defense. Pratt, the veteran of the group, will have to have another huge game. The rest of the defense, for that matter, will have to play as well as they did last Sunday.
Evan McPherson is a legend
McPherson made history by making the longest kick in Bengals’ history. He also became the first Bengals kicker to make nine 50-yard field goals in a season.
McPherson’s performance was crucial in a game where every point mattered.
He has his misses at times, but he makes kicks when it counts. When the Bengals needed points to open the game, McPherson came through. At the end of the half, when the Bengals needed points, McPherson delivered.
It was a good thing that he was as hot as he was, since the Bengals had struggles moving the ball.
The offense needs to figure out how to score
The Bengals need to find a way to move the ball without big plays.
Joe Burrow was held to 157 passing yards on Sunday. Joe Mixon was held to 58 rushing yards. Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase combined for three catches for 26 yards.
The Broncos might be one of the best defenses the Bengals faced all year. That said, they’re not invincible.
They took away rushing plays at the line and deep balls down field. The Bengals have to figure out how to find a middle ground.
As a result, they weren’t able to move the ball very well. The closest down the field they ever snapped the ball was the Broncos’ 35-yard line for McPherson’s first long field goal (excluding the last play when the Bengals got the ball at the Broncos 11-yard line).
It’s great that McPherson can make long field goals, but the Bengals’ shouldn’t depend on him for their scoring production.