That was ugly, to say the least.
Here’s a quick recap of how it all played out:
The Bengals won the toss and—as they have tended to do this year—decided to take the ball first. Instantly, Joe Burrow hit Ja’Marr Chase for a nine-yard gain, and the offense got on a roll.
Moving through the Tennessee defense like a hot knife through butter, the Bengal offense marched right down the field inside the Titans’ 5-yard line. Unfortunately, the offense stalled and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal by Evan McPherson to end an 11-play drive.
On the Titans’ first drive, they were able to run the ball well and get to the Bengal 46-yard line before facing a fourth and two. Unfortunately, they did pick it up, and the drive continued. But the Bengals defense stood tall, as B.J. Hill came up with a sack that forced a 53-yard field goal by Nick Folk.
A late first-quarter scuffle between the Bengals’ offensive line and the Titan defensive front was about the extent of the rest of the action.
The Bengals began the quarter with the ball. Burrow dropped back, got hit very hard, and was initially charged with a fumble on a failed pass attempt. After review, the call determined Burrow’s arm was going forward. In addition, Burrow was clearly hit in the face on the play, and a flag was thrown. However, the officials inexplicably waved the flag off.
Things didn’t get better from there. A run on second down was sniffed out by Tennessee’s defense, and Burrow was sacked by Jeffrey Simmons on the next play, leading to a Brad Robbins punt.
Cincinnati’s defense came through yet again on the next drive, giving the Titans nearly nothing and forcing another punt. But a big kick by Ryan Stonehouse pinned the Bengals inside their own 10-yard line.
The Bengals picked up a first down on a 13-yard carry from Joe Mixon, but the Titans’ pass rush got to Burrow yet again on third down, leading to another Brad Robbins punt.
The Titans’ offense finally got rolling behind a big 38-yard completion to Deandre Hopkins. That seemed to give them a spark, as Tannehill hit another big play to tight end Josh Whyle and found Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 12-yard touchdown.
I’ll make this quick. The Bengals offense couldn’t do anything when they got the ball back, then Tennessee scored again on a long run by Derrick Henry.
I could just copy and paste this, but the Bengals offense couldn’t get going and was forced to punt.
The Titans would go on to score again on a Henry pass to Whyle. The Titans showed their hand, the Bengals called a timeout, and after getting the same look as before, the Bengals couldn’t sniff out the trick play that seemed so inevitable. A squib kick would lead to the merciful halftime whistle.
The Titans opened the half with the ball, and it was, unfortunately, more of what we saw in the first half. The Bengals struggled to bring Henry down at first contact, and the Titan offense picked up timely conversions and moved the ball into Bengals territory. After chewing up over 10 minutes of clock, the Titans kicked a 35-yard field goal to extend their lead to 24. Sigh.
The Bengals offense started to show signs of life and finally crossed into Tennessee territory for a second time before a strip sack of Burrow led to the Titan offense getting back on the field.
The Bengals would force a punt. Trenton Irwin muffed the catch, but the Bengals were able to fall on it deep in their own territory. From there, it was more of the same. The Bengals would go on to punt.
The Bengals’ first conversion on 3rd down wouldn’t come until there was 9:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After a couple more failed drives by the Bengals, the Titan offense would bleed out the clock.
The final score would be 27-3 Titans.
Just a brutal day.