What a game. The Cincinnati Bengals have ended their playoff drought.
While it was an imperfect game, Cincinnati largely played well. We’re calling out the good things and performances from many different Bengals in this one.
What a game from one of the locker room leaders and one of the few holdovers left from the Marvin Lewis era. He scored the Bengals’ first touchdown and continued to be a great outlet with other receiving options having quiet days.
Deep balls, short passes and even jet sweeps as effective plays from “Uno”. He went over 100 yards receiving in his playoff debut, including some trademark toe-tap plays along the sideline.
Another great game from the young franchise quarterback. He battled through cold weather, a couple of drops and an inconsistent run game to deliver a clutch performance.
It was a rough opening drive for the Bengals’ defense, wherein they couldn’t generate pressure. On Las Vegas’ second offensive drive, Cincinnati finally forced them into a third-and-long and Hendrickson made them pay.
The Raiders put tight end Foster Moreau alone on the Pro Bowl defensive end, and Hendrickson got past him to force a big fumble on Derek Carr. Unfortunately, Hendrickson left the game with a concussion in the third quarter and was eventually ruled out.
After Hendrickson’s big strip-sack, Ogunjobi scooped up the fumble and set the Bengals up well. Cincinnati converted a field goal after the big play. Also unfortunate, as with Hendrickson, Ogunjobi seemed to suffer a significant injury in this game after a great season.
What a high-effort game from the local guy. With the Bengals’ defensive line down a number of great players, Hubbard kept stepping up and making plays. His tipped pass at the end of the game was a potential game-saver.
The rookie kicker came up huge on a few stalled drives. He had four big field goals through the all four quarters to continue to keep the Raiders at an arm’s length throughout the game.
He had a tackle for loss and the game-clinching interception. Just some great strides by the third-year linebacker all year.
The head coach who was on a little bit of a hot seat to start the year has done something his past four predecessors could not achieve: win a playoff game. Build a statue of the guy in front of PBS.
It wasn’t pretty, but Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby were limited factors in this one. Cincinnati struggled to gain consistency in the run game, but with personnel issues on the right side of the line, Cincinnati held the Raiders to just two sacks on the day—no small feat.
We’re going to give the visiting team some credit here—sorry, not sorry. While they were “losers” on the scoreboard, the Las Vegas Raiders came up with a season in which they should be immensely proud.
Whether it was overcoming the Jon Gruden, Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette debacles, or going 4-0 to get into the postseason in the last month, tip of the cap. As if that wasn’t enough, this game literally came down to the very last play.
Whatever the result was going to be, Who Dey faithful at Paul Brown Stadium was loud. The noise caused three false start penalties and a number of communication issues from the Raiders’ offense.
It’s been 31 years. Let’s freaking party, baby!
The officiating crew:
Calls went against both sides in this one, with the most egregious being a phantom roughing the passer call on the Raiders’ final drive. This was definitely a game to forget for this officiating crew.