Joe Burrow led an efficient offense that scored on six drives, including two of his touchdown passes, and rookie Evan McPherson made four field goals as the Cincinnati Bengals finally advanced in the playoffs with a 26-19 win over Las Vegas in Saturday’s wildcard game.
It was a victory three decades in the making for the Bengals. After going from worst to first in the AFC North with a young roster, they ended an embarrassing postseason drought that spanned 31 years and eight consecutive defeats.
Bengals coach Zac Taylor said game balls were going to team owner Mike Brown and to the city itself.
“Some of them might not understand the significance of what happened today,” he said of his players. “The city can finally enjoy … this team and take the pressure off of the last 31 年. Today was significant for a lot of people.”
The Bengals had to survive a Raiders drive to the nine-yard line in the final minute, but Derek Carr was intercepted on fourth down by Germaine Pratt to effectively end the game.
Helped by some problematic officiating by Jerome Boger’s crew that might have allowed Burrow’s touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd to count when it shouldn’t have, the Bengals also extended a lengthy postseason drought for the Raiders. Las Vegas, who won their final four games to squeeze into the playoffs, last won in the postseason in the 2002 [object Window].
Cincinnati made it four for four on scoring drives late in the first half, though with some controversy. Burrow rolled right to avoid pressure and threw from close to the sideline. Play continued despite an erroneous whistle by an official, who thought Burrow stepped out of bounds. Boyd caught the 10-yard pass in the back of the end zone for a 20-6 lead. The play counted, to protests from the Raiders.
NFL rule 7, セクション 2, Article 1(NS) 州: 「「[W]hen an official sounds the whistle erroneously while the ball is still in play, the ball becomes dead immediately … If the ball is in player possession, the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where it has been declared dead or to replay the down.”
Las Vegas duly lost by seven points.
“It’s a great win for us, for the city, for the organization,” said Burrow, who led the NFL in completion percentage this season. “But we expected this, so it’s not going to be a big celebration like it was when we won the division. We took care of business. It’s on to the next round.”