The Bengals deferred until the second half after winning the coin flip. The Seahawks ate up six and a half minutes on an 11-play drive. Seattle only faced a single third down on the drive as they were beaten by Geno Smith going five for five on the drive for 50 yards and Kenneth Walker III having 34 total yards, which culminated in him scoring a rushing touchdown.
Cincinnati’s offense was able to answer with a touchdown of their own. Joe Burrow hit six different receivers on the drive. The big play was drawing an encroachment penalty on a 4th-and-round midfield. After that, Burrow picked apart the Seahawks defense finding the open offensive player that ended with Tyler Boyd making a double move on the goal line to get open for his first touchdown on the season.
The Bengals defense was able to force a three-and-out their next time out. The offense picked up where they left off. Two big plays from Burrow to Chase downfield quickly set them up in the red zone. The drive was capped off with Burrow performing an incredible play fake, and he had to buy some time drifting out of the pocket.
Finally, rookie wide receiver Andrei Iosivas for his first touchdown of his career. It also was the wide receiver’s birthday, so quite the gift from Burrow to the rookie.
After a few stands from the defenses, the Seahawks finally put together another promising drive. Smith kept on doing just enough to keep the drive alive. However, it was stopped when defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo sent a 0-blitz that resulted in Trey Hendrickson and Dax Hill being unblocked and forcing Smith to toss it up off one foot falling backward. Mike Hilton was in the area but slipped going to get under the pass. Kicker Jason Meyers drilled a 55-yard field goal to make it 10-14.
The first half came to an end with a Cam Sample sack after he lined up inside.
Burrow and the offense came out with the ball in the second half. The drive ended in disaster as Burrow attempted to toss it up to Chase in a one-on-one, but Tre Brown boxed Chase out for an interception. Hard to say whether it was an underthrown ball, an attempted back shoulder, or a miscommunication/read of where Chase should end up for the pass.
The Seahawks looked like they were going to be able to answer back quickly with a touchdown on the drive, but Mike Hilton came up with a huge interception inside the red zone.
Cincinnati wasn’t able to do anything after the pick, and the Seahawks — after a big punt return from DeeJay Dallas — were set up with great field position. An unfortunate personal foul against Hill on a hit against a defenseless receiver gave them the ball inside the 10-yard line. The defense stood tall and held them to a field goal cutting Cincinnati’s lead to just one.
With the Bengals offense failing to start in the second half, cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt came up with a huge interception to set Cincinnati up already in field goal range. However, three straight incompletions where Burrow looked uncharacteristically off on his throw. Evan McPherson drilled his field goal to extend Cincinnati’s lead back to four, though.
The story of the second half is how well the Bengals defense played. They absolutely played well enough to win this game. They were put in bad situations several times. Whether it was shorter fields or just not getting any rest with the offense stuck in the mud.
The best example of them making the necessary play was stopping the Seahawks on fourth-and-goal with a sack on Smith. The pass rush had been an issue most of the game, but they were able to turn it on when necessary. It looked like Smith wanted Metcalf early, but the throw wasn’t there, and the defensive line led by Sam Hubbard and Hendrickson didn’t give him time to read the rest of the field.
The Bengals defense would have to come up big again, however. The offense failed to get a first down to close out the game. A big play to Tyler Lockett quickly gave Seattle the ball inside Cincinnati’s 20-yard line.
As they did all second half, they did bend, but they did not break. The defense was able to confuse and rush Smith by mixing in blitzes with exotic zone concepts behind it. It was B.J. Hill who had the game-ending sack. The defense stepped up big time, and the Bengals got a win.
This is a massive win to get back to .500 going into the bye week. You also have to say this is a game this team survived. Burrow and the offense looked more like the team that couldn’t move the ball the first four weeks of the season than the one who moved the ball with ease against the Arizona Cardinals.
Still, all that matters is the win at the end of the game, and now this team gets a week to rest and figure out some of their issues going into the rest of the season.