JOE Burrow passed for 244 yards and two first-half touchdowns (TD) as the Cincinnati Bengals ended a 31-year postseason losing streak with a 26-19 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday afternoon.
Evan McPherson kicked four field goals (FG) for the Bengals.
Cincinnati advanced out of the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since the 1990 season.
“It’s a great win for us, for the city and the organization, but, you know, we expected this. So, it’s not gonna be a big celebration like it was when we won the division,” Burrow said. “We took care of business. Now it’s on to the next round.”
Cincinnati led by 10 points after McPherson’s fourth field goal, a 28-yarder, with 6:46 to play.
The Raiders pulled to within 26-19 on the ensuing drive on Daniel Carlson’s 28-yard FG — his fourth of the game as well — with 3:34 remaining. Las Vegas converted a huge fourth-and-5 from its own 44-yard line to keep alive the drive.
The Bengals could not run out the clock, giving Las Vegas the ball at its own 35 with 1:51 to play. The Raiders moved to the Cincinnati 9-yard line, but failed to get the tying score on four snaps, the final one ending with an interception by the Bengals’ Germaine Pratt with 12 seconds to play.
Derek Carr threw for 310 yards and a touchdown for Las Vegas, completing passes to seven different receivers. Josh Jacobs rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries.
The Raiders, making their first playoff appearance since 2016, have not recorded a postseason victory since the 2002 season.
“The Bengals beat us today — we came up short today,” Carr said. “Honestly, I’m just trying to hold back emotion because I didn’t plan on that happening. You know, I didn’t expect it to have to go that way. I just felt so confident in the game plan. So, it’s just hard right now. But looking at the season, you definitely have some pieces there. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”
Las Vegas got on the board on its opening drive, moving 47 yards to Carlson’s 47-yard field goal with 9:23 to play in the first quarter. Cincinnati answered with Burrow’s 7-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah and a 7-3 lead with 4:31 left in the quarter.
On the ensuing possession, Carr fumbled while being sacked from behind by the Bengals’ Trey Hendrickson, with the loose ball picked up by Larry Ogunjobi and returned to the Las Vegas 15-yard line. Cincinnati settled for a 31-yard FG by McPherson that expanded its advantage to 10-3.
The teams traded field goals early in the second quarter, with McPherson hitting from 30 yards at the 10:20 mark and Carlson converting from 28 yards out with 7:55 to play until half time.
Burrow added to the Bengals’ lead with a scrambling, 10-yard TD pass to Tyler Boyd with 1:51 left in the half. That left plenty of time for Carr, who drove to a 14-yard scoring pass to Zay Jones to pull the Raiders to within 20-13 at the break.
The only scoring in the third quarter was a 43-yard field goal by McPherson on the Bengals’ opening drive of the half that pushed their lead to 23-13.
Carlson hit from 34 yards away on the second play of the fourth quarter to bring the Raiders within a touchdown, 23-16. — Reuters