They also knocked off the No. 1 seed in the AFC on their way to their third appearance in the AFC Championship in franchise history.
This game wasn’t an easy one. The Bengals were up by 10 at one point, only to watch it disappear in a matter of minutes. Not to mention Joe Burrow also taking a beating with nine sacks (and a few more hits the refs allowed on dead plays).
When it mattered most, this Cincinnati defense stepped up and made the plays to make sure this team had a chance to win.
And to top it off, a rookie kicker, who many criticized being selected so early in this year’s NFL Draft, nailed the biggest kick of the new millennium for the Bengals from beyond 50 yards.
Kicker Evan McPherson solidified himself as a weapon today. He has directly changed the outcome of many of Cincinnati’s games with his ability to hit from long range. He also had three game-winners in the regular season. Now he adds a nice smooth one to head to the AFC Championship from beyond 50 yards. Safe to say this guy will never have to pay for a drink in Cincinnati the rest of his life. Well, that is as long as he doesn’t mind the drunks shouting “SHOOTER” every time he gets one.
EVAN MCPHERSON GAME WINNER! WHO DEY BABY!— Adam Haste (@ahaste5) January 23, 2022
It's only fitting that the Bengals win a playoff game off an Evan McPherson 53-yard field goal— Nick Manchester (@NickManchester9) January 23, 2022
Evan McPherson is the Joe Burrow of kickers. Cold blooded killer— Dadio Makdook (@dadiodefacto) January 23, 2022
Bengals defense puts clamps on Derrick Henry and passing game
This entire week, media covering this game talked about how a healthy Henry at running back would win this game for the Titans. They sighted the injury of Larry Ogunjobi. No offense meant to Ogunjobi, but fans knew he wasn’t the team's best run defender. That belongs to D.J. Reader, who announced himself to all of those who haven’t noticed how he has killed it all season.
Run at who??!?!— Dj Reader (@Djread98) January 23, 2022
Lou.— Matt (@MrKCincy) January 23, 2022
Everyone thought defense would be why we lost. It’s why we won.
Finesse stop— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) January 23, 2022
King Henry absolutely stuffed on 4th & 1 and Burrow gets the ball back with the game tied at 16.— Andre Perrotta (@andreperrotta13) January 23, 2022
Then there was the defense that picked off Ryan Tannehill three times, which included linebacker Logan Wilson giving Burrow and company a chance at a game-winning drive inside a minute. He intercepted a ball tipped up by cornerback Eli Apple.
I think it's time Tannehill move back to safety https://t.co/kAgyHvlCsr— Dadio Makdook (@dadiodefacto) January 22, 2022
Mike Hilton just potentially changed the direction of this game twice in two plays.— Ben Rolfe (@BenRolfePFN) January 22, 2022
Postgame takes from twitter
After the initial reaction, fans head a little more level head to appreciate the situation this team is in. It isn’t every year a team goes from one of the worst in the NFL to one of the final four teams left still playing.
Now imagine this team with a line that doesn't give up 9 sacks.— Drew (@DrewCrabtree12) January 23, 2022
Sometimes 1 draft pick can change a franchise…— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) January 23, 2022
Great playoff run so far for Evan McPherson
Ryan Tannehill vs. Joe Burrow went as expected, tbh. It's that important.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) January 23, 2022
Paul Rudd said it best.
The most valuable lessons I’ve learned from the NFL:— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 23, 2022
1. Until you get a great QB, nothing else matters.
Real talk: The team that panicked and changed ticket rules for fear of an invasion deserves to hold an L.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) January 23, 2022
Cincinnati will be the dream destination of every free agent offensive linemen— Matt Minich (@CoachMinich) January 23, 2022
GIFs of the game
Since tonight was such a special one, we are bringing back the GIF section of this post. Many great ones were sent in, and all of them are appreciated. However, for the sake of this post being able to load, we can only go with three. Here were the best.