The Cincinnati Bengals were able to maintain their lead for the AFC North with a win against the New England Patriots in an extremely cold game on Christmas Eve. The Bengals looked like they were going to run away with it early on, but a sloppy second half allowed the Patriots back into this one.
It looked like Joe Burrow and the offense could do no wrong early on. In fact, Burrow had over 280 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Each one of those touchdowns looked as great as the next. Here is a little peak at how unstoppable Burrow was early on.
Joe Burrow with a perfect first drive finding Tee Higgins for 6! pic.twitter.com/zCHCMTYiMb— Barstool Cincinnati (@UCBarstool) December 24, 2022
It definitely felt like it was all Cincinnati most of the game. The biggest issue was the kicking game being nearly impossible with the weather. Evan McPherson had several misses that he would usually nail, and even Nick Folk on the other side could barely get close. However, drives where the Bengals would usually come away with three points or have extra points following their touchdowns seemed to be adding up.
Everything changed following a pick-6 thrown by Burrow in the third quarter. It was a rough play where he saw the blitz and tried to communicate a change to a different play, but he and Ja’Marr Chase were not on the same play. That set off a catastrophic series of events where New England suddenly came alive on offense. It may have come with some help from the refs in certain situations. I mean what is a forward pass may be a harder question to answer than what a catch is after this game.
Following that play the Patriots were able to make a tipped Hail Mary pay off on third-and-29 for a touchdown. The defense was not done with this game though, and just when it seemed like the Patriots were set to go ahead they stepped up with a Vonn Bell forced fumble after D.J. Reader stuffed a run up the middle.
I am going to die of a heart attack… you’re going to find me dead in my living room…— Bengalorian (@thebengalorian) December 24, 2022
Ball is clearly out. Forward progress wasn't called. That should hold up. Shocked forward progress wasn't called.— Jake Liscow (@JakeLiscow) December 24, 2022
Bengals need a first down to end the game as NE has 3 timeouts.
It took one more defensive stand with only 40 seconds remaining for Cincinnati to escape Foxborough with a win while maintaining their edge against the Ravens for the division. The reactions at the end were as relieved as you could be as a fan base to have won a game where your team was up 22-0.
What’s nice about that win is that it may help the Bengals tighten up despite winning. Knowing they barely won and now have a huge game coming up.— Jack (@Cincinneumeyer) December 24, 2022
We’re on to Buffalo— Santori Miles (@Cincy_Suave) December 24, 2022
Thank god that’s over— Draft Guy Jared (@DraftGuyJared) December 24, 2022
In most years of my life, the Bengals lose a game like that.— Jeff Wallner (@JeffWallner) December 24, 2022
I don’t know if we should be overly concerned about McPherson since both kickers looked like high school kickers today.— Drew Garrison (@DrewGarrison) December 24, 2022
Updated conference standings through early afternoon Saturday games. A new AFC South leader! pic.twitter.com/wOq5j1Ktaz— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 24, 2022
Nobody got down on the Chiefs when they barely beat the Texans last week. It’s hard to win in the NFL.— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) December 24, 2022
“[They] came up with a big turnover to win the game at the end. They’ve done it all year. Lucky to have those guys on my team."— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) December 24, 2022
Joe Burrow praises his defense after the @Bengals 22-18 win in New England.
Some uncharacteristic mistakes from Chase, Burrow, McPherson, some very close coach's challenges going against the Bengals, losing La'el Collins to injury, some weird bounces of the football, but they end up doing just enough to win. They overcame a lot and it's tough in NE.— Jake Liscow (@JakeLiscow) December 24, 2022
When it seemed like momentum was completely swinging the Patriots way and they were going to win this game, the Bengals defense came up huge! This team is so awesome! #Bengals #WhoDey #RuleTheJungle pic.twitter.com/r6nghmMq7i— GameOn513 (@gameonjmoney) December 24, 2022