The Cincinnati Bengals are back in the AFC Championship game after a convincing 27-10 win over the Buffalo Bills. Even snow showers in Orchard Park didn’t stop them. The defense of the guests in particular was almost impossible to overcome.
Bills vs. Bengals: At a Glance
The Bengals return to the AFC Championship Game, which, like last year, will be played in Kansas City – not on neutral ground.
As Joe Burrow and Co. moved the ball around despite the snow shower, the home team had a lot more problems and broke their teeth, especially on the Bengals’ strong front.
A special moment came when the stadium announcement that Damar Hamlin was back at the stadium about three weeks after collapsing in Cincinnati was greeted by a cheering crowd.
Bills vs. Bengals: The Analysis
Similar to the last meeting between the two teams nearly three weeks ago, the Bengals are off to a great start. They took the lead on the first drive – Joe Burrow was 4/4 and found Ja’Marr Chase for a 28-yard touchdown against the Bills’ first blitz in play – Nickelback Taron Johnson was the blitzer and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds n naturally had no chance against the star receiver.
The Bengals made it 14-0 a little later with a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst, who executed a turn out of the slot after Burrow credibly faked a screen at Chase on the same side.
And the bills? They didn’t have a single 1st down in the first quarter. They only got better in the second quarter and Josh Allen put them on the scoreboard with a QB sneak. The Bengals hit a field goal before the break after video evidence disallowed a presumably par for the course touchdown from Chase because he “didn’t survive the ground.” It was a controversial decision that saved the bills from the worst. The same was true when Burrow missed a Hail Mary as time was up.
After the break, the Bills announced the absence of safety Dean Marlowe – the replacement for Damar Hamlin, who incidentally was back in the stadium for the first time since its collapse three weeks ago and was greeted by thunderous cheers. Jaquan Johnson succeeded Marlowe.
Bills vs Bengals: Early end for Buffalo hopes
On the field, the Bills entered the red zone thanks to some spectacular saves from Allen, but were stopped on a short field goal by Tyler Bass.
In return, the Bengals marched impressively down the field, Burrow converted some long 3rd downs and after several goal line penalties against the Bills, Joe Mixon – according to the review – fought his way into the area goals for a touchdown. 24:10 Bengals at the end of the third quarter.
The visitors won the ball back soon after, however, after Gabe Davis dropped a remarkable through ball from Allen and head coach Sean McDermott called a punt at 4th-and-2 which was also not the wisest decision from an analytical point of view.
In return, defensive pass interference – the second for Tre’Davious White – put Cincy back in the red zone. During that game, the helmets of White and safety Jordan Poyer collided and both had to be removed and checked for head injuries. The Bengals didn’t make more than one field goal after that. 11:10 p.m. with just over eleven minutes to play.
The Bills showed one last effort but were eventually stopped on a fourth down in the red zone, ending their comeback hopes. The final point was a rookie Cam Taylor-Britt interception on Allen.
Like the year before, the Bengals are in the AFC Championship Game, which will again take place in Kansas City next Sunday.
NFL Divisional Playoffs: Buffalo Bills (13-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)
Result: 10:27 (0:14, 7:3, 3:7, 0:3) BOXSCORE
Bills vs Bengals – the most important stats
On the first drive of the game, Chase passed Randy Moss (463) for the second most receiving yards in the playoffs in a player’s first two seasons (513). Only Charlie Brown (Washington) had more in 1982 and 1983 (643).
Burrow, on the other hand, topped 1,500 passing yards in the first half, becoming the fourth player with at least that many passing yards in his first three playoff seasons. His predecessors were Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Dan Marino.
- Additionally, Chase is now the only player besides Moss with at least 3,000 receiving yards and at least 25 touchdown receptions in his first two NFL seasons.
- Burrow joined Russell Wilson (6) and Ben Roethlisberger (5) as the only quarterbacks with 5 playoff wins in their first three NFL seasons.
The star of the game: Defensive front (Bengals)
Joe Burrow and his offense played a very good game, but that’s to be expected. However, what the Bengals defensive line delivered was all the more impressive. She put Josh Allen under constant pressure (40% pressure rate) and disrupted his rhythm. She also stopped the hosts’ run, which made the team one-dimensional. Football is usually decided on the line and that was the case this time.
The flop of the game: Defensive front (Bills)
The secondary didn’t do a great job either, but overall the defensive line and linebackers have more to criticize as they were reasonably fit and complete and barely made it to Burrow against the line Bengals offense, which was badly battered by injury. . They also had big problems stopping the running game. Mixon alone had several big plays and Samaje Perine was rarely tackled well with his few touches.
Analysis: Bills vs. Bengals – the tactics chart
The Bengals varied their rosters and personnel packages very well from the start. They relied heavily on pre-snap movement, shifts, and mixed running and passing to the point of being unpredictable.
Their best early chess piece, unsurprisingly, was Chase, who, in addition to his standard X role, could also be found in the slot and even in the backfield. Before his touchdown he entered the slot with a backfield move, before Hurst’s touchdown he was the decoy on the outside when Burrow first indicated a screen and then threw it to Hurst.
The Bills struggled to get started. They also handicapped themselves in the first two unsuccessful drives with early runs. It wasn’t until the second quarter that they really made progress. They picked up the pace, mostly switching to spread formations and a few empty sets to hamper the Bengals’ passing rush – until then they blitzed a lot, then around four to five receivers they became more cautious.
Overall, both teams started defensively with concepts and a 2-point zone. However, they quickly realized that Zone was harder to play than usual due to the weather and resulting slippery terrain, so they leaned more towards humans to avoid having to react suddenly to changes. of management.
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