Playoff Drought? Never heard of her.
“Cincinnati, for the first time in 31 years, your Bengals have won a playoff game.”
Excitement was all over place Saturday evening. After a wild week 18, the Bengals knew their playoff opponent: The Las Vegas Raiders. The team who started the curse.
This seemed like the best case scenario. The Bengals beat the Raiders 32-13. The Bengals controlled their own destiny.
And with that control, the Bengals broke the drought. They beat the Raiders 26-19 in a game that came down to the wire.
In a game where the Bengals took control early, they were never able to put the game away. In 5 redzone tries, the Bengals had 2 touchdowns and 3 field goals. And because of the lack of capitalizing in the redzone, the Raiders were able to stay in the game. And next thing you know, they have a chance to tie the game inside the 2 minute warning.
This is where fear struck Bengals fans. We’ve seen this story before. Bengals are controlling the game but let the other come back. Bengals’ PTSD was in full swing. The Raiders were driving. They converted a 3rd and 17, and next thing you know, they were in the redzone.
The Bengals fans held their breath for the next 3 plays (Derek Carr spiked it on 1st and goal). Luckily, the Bengals defense had enough. The Bengals forced 2 incompletions, and than this happened:
Germaine Pratt became a Cincinnati legend. The Bengals won a playoff game.
Though the stats don’t show it. Joe Burrow had an incredible game. He threw for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns. One of them being this incredible touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd.
After the game, Joe Burrow had this to stay:
I love Andy Dalton and don’t mean to bash him, but Joe Burrow is just that guy. His leadership, demeanor, and playing best in big games is why the Bengals won this playoff game. To be successful, you have to have that attitude. Andy Dalton did not.
Burrow is looking at the big picture. He doesn’t have the mindset of breaking a playoff drought, he’s focused on winning the damn Super Bowl.
Ja’Marr Chase also had a fantastic game Saturday. He pulled in 9 catches for 116 yards.
The defense played lights out. Their “bend but don’t break” style was in full gear. The Raiders had 5 scoring drives, and made the redzone 5 times. In those 5 times, the Raiders scored 1 touchdown, 3 field goals. Their 5th and final redzone appearance led to the Germaine Pratt INT.
A big reason for this was the defensive line. They shutdown the run game in the redzone and forced penalties that set the Raiders back.
There were many players on the Bengals defense who had an outstanding game, but outside of Germaine Pratt, Jessie Bates was the hero for the Bengals defense. He had 3 pass breakups, including a tremendous play to knock the ball out Hunter Renfrow hands to cause a punt
Evan McPherson made all 4 of his field goals. After the Bengals drafted him, some were concerned about him kicking in the cold and high winds. That has not been an issue all year for him, and certainly wasn’t Saturday. McPherson scored 14 points for the Bengals.
The drought is over, and it’s time to look at the bigger picture. The Bengals face the number 1 seed, the Tennessee Titans. Derrick Henry will be active. Last time the Bengals played the Titans, they shocked the league and beat them 31-20. Though the Bengals have received a lot of praise from the media, like the last time we played the Titans, the Bengals are underdogs. The Bengals have a chance to make another statement is the divisional rounds.