Improbably, the Bengals actually made the game interesting. Following the flurry of turnovers, the Bengals got two quick touchdowns to keep it close.
Joe Burrow completed 14 of his first 20 attempts, but in the fourth quarter threw interceptions on three straight pass attempts. Before the interceptions, he had not thrown a pick in 199 attempts, which was the longest active streak in the NFL.
After the interceptions, Burrow was six for his next seven, passing for 78 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn’t enough as the Bengals’ comeback fell just short.
The other key turnover came from Tee Higgins at the end of a 14-yard reception.
Andy Dalton started his second career game against the Bengals. On the first drive, Dalton completed six of his seven passing attempts for 39 yards. He helped get the Bears all the way down to the red zone, where he hit Allen Robinson for an 11-yard touchdown pass. With 9:58 to go in the first quarter, Cairo Santos’ extra point gave the Bears a 7-0 lead.
The Bengals and Bears exchanged possession for the rest of the half. On offense, the plays the Bengals called involved a lot of pre-snap reads, resulting in Burrow throwing into tight (or even closed) windows. While he didn’t throw any interceptions, he missed on some third down attempts, and only threw for 4.7 yards per attempt in the first half. The Bengals didn’t run a play longer than 14 yards in the first half hour of play.
The Bengals knew they needed to stop the Bears’ rushing offense, and did a decent job at that. However, Dalton had several runs of 10+ yards, which tested the defense.
All in all, it felt like the Bengals should have been down by a lot more than seven points at the half.
After being shut out in the first half, the Bengals put together their longest drive of the game. After 12 plays and 43 yards, the Bengals got in range for Evan McPherson. The rookie kicker drilled the 53-yard field goal, and the Bengals finally got on the scoreboard, still trailing 7-3 with 8:22 to go in the third quarter.
The Bengals forced a punt on their next drive and got the best field position they had all game. But on the first play, Tee Higgins fumbled the ball, and Tashaun Gipson recovered.
Fields passed twice for 34 yards to get the Bears to the ten-yard line. But Chidobe Awuzie, who missed a tackle earlier in the drive, broke up a pass in the end zone to force the Bears to settle. Santos made the chip shot, and the Bears were up by a full touchdown, 10-3 with 14:52 to go in the game.
On the next drive, the Bengals leaned on Joe Mixon to help move the ball. Burrow threw it into traffic, however, and Roquan Smith picked it off and scored. In a matter of minutes, the Bears had turned two turnovers into 10 points, and led 17-3 with 10:55 remaining in the game.
Burrow had two interceptions on his next two passing attempts. After the first one, the Bengals forced a punt, but after the second one, the Bears kicked a field goal.
In the fourth quarter, the Bengals ended four straight drives with turnovers. Somehow, the Bears only got 13 points off of the turnovers, and only six of them came from.
Even though the defense stood up to the Bears’ offense, the Bengals still trailed 20-3 with 6:40 left in the game.
The Bengals offense finally got into a rhythm, and Burrow connected with Ja’Marr Chase for his second straight game. Burrow hit Chase for a 42-yard touchdown to cut into the Bears’ lead. After the extra point, the Bengals trailed 20-10 with 4:39 remaining.
Ja'Marr Chase with a 42-yard TD reception, 4:39 remaining in the 4th, down 20-10. pic.twitter.com/FxmeBID5Vj— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 19, 2021
The Bengals needed a miracle, and Logan Wilson delivered one. He picked off Fields, and set the Bengals up with a very short field. One play later, Burrow found Higgins in the end zone for a touchdown, and the Bengals were on their way back, down only 20-17 with 3:34 to go.
The Bengals needed a stop, but couldn’t stop David Montgomery, so the Bears let the clock wind all the way down.
The Bears get their first win of the season, winning 20-17.