The Cincinnati Bengals are moving on in the NFL Playoffs thanks to a Divisional Round win over the Buffalo Bills.
Despite entering the game as 5.5-point road dogs, the Bengals left no doubt they were the better team, jumping out to a 14-0 lead and cruised to a 27-10 victory. They’ll now hit the road again to face the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship.
Here are the biggest winners from today’s monumental win.
The Bengals’ quarterback went through almost the entire first quarter without an incompletion. He started 9-of-9 with two touchdown passes and was critical in the team’s 14-0 start on the scoreboard.
Despite heavy snow, three backup offensive linemen and other obstacles, Burrow just kept coming at the Bills.
Hakeem Adeniji, Max Scharping and Jackson Carman:
It’s never easy to come in as a reserve player in a high-profile game. Add in a hostile environment, heavy snow causing players to “play on skates” and there’s a recipe for disaster.
Even so, Adeniji and Carman played admirably given all of the chatter this week. Carman did have a false start (man, was that close) and allowed a sack, but both paved way in the run game and protected Burrow well.
Jackson Carman...bench escort. pic.twitter.com/yAbHwFWIxS— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) January 22, 2023
RPO-style runs were key early, but Mixon consistently gained high amounts of yardage on early downs to continually put the Bengals in good position for many of their drives. He also showed high effort in pushing piles on the rare occasion the Bills’ defense stymied him for a short gain.
Mixon finished with 123 total yards from scrimmage, which was key with the crazy weather. But, his 105 rushing yards were indicative of the physical domination of the game from Cincinnati this Sunday.
Effort, effort, effort. Hurst was key early on with a couple of drive-extending catches, but his hurdle for a first down in the third quarter on an eventual touchdown drive was key. Hurst finished with 59 yards on five catches with a touchdown, with the lone miss being a rare misfire from Burrow which would have been another walk-in touchdown.
Zac Taylor and Brian Callahan:
The two offensive gurus drew up a masterpiece this week. Cincinnati was absolutely the more physical team and had nearly every answer to what the Bills were showing on defense.
Even the late setup to go for it on fourth down to continue to bleed the clock (even though they committed a false start), was perfection. They just had the Buffalo defense on their heels all afternoon.
What a game by Anarumo’s unit. Holding Josh Allen and his explosive offense to just 10 points on their home field? Unreal.
Allen was hit and harassed all afternoon, while the Bills’ leading receiver was Dawson Knox with 65 yards and their leading rusher was Allen with 26. Buffalo just couldn’t get much of anything going thanks to the frustrations provided by “The Mad Scientist”.
Cam Taylor-Britt and Eli Apple:
If it wasn’t the offensive line getting the hate this week, it was the lack of star power at the cornerback position. Apple came up with a huge game in a big moment, having a batted pass late and Taylor-Britt getting the game-sealing interception. A quality day in the secondary for these two.