49ers 26 Bengals 23 (OT)
For the second consecutive week a slow start and sloppy play plagued the Bengals and ultimately cost them the game. One week after falling behind 24-0 to the Chargers, the Bengals fell behind 20-6 to the 49ers on Sunday at PBS. Two special teams fumbles, a taunting penalty and a missed FG helped dig the hole. But down 14 points with 9:20 left in the game the Bengals rallied to force OT and then took the lead in OT on the strength of 17 consecutive points. But the 49ers then marched 75 yards to win it on a 12-yard TD pass with 2:00 remaining in the extra session. The 49ers had missed a chance to win in regulation when Robbie Gould shanked a 47-yard field goal attempt with just :04 left.
It was a crushing loss for a Bengals team that could have moved into first place in the AFC North. Instead, the Bengals have lost back-to-back home games and fall to 3-4 at PBS this season. Now at 7-6, falling from 6th to 9th in the 7-team playoff field pecking order. It was their fourth loss by three points each this season: Bears, Packers, Jets and 49ers. They are 2-4 since their 5-2 start to the season. They have gone 2 W, 2 L, 2 W, 2 L over their last eight games.
Margins: The Bengals have six games decided by three points and seven games decided by 14+ points. W: 3, 3, 14, 19, 23, 24, 31. L: 3, 3, 3, 3, 19, 25.
Captain Comeback: Joe Burrow threw two 4th quarter TD strikes to Ja'Marr Chase....A beauty of a spin, extend and create pass to Chase along the backline of the endzone and a 32-yard touch pass that Chase tracked and snagged to tie the game with 1:19 remaining. Burrow showed little issues with his dislocated finger: 25 of 34, 358 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, QB rating 125.6. He was under heavy duress, sacked 5 times. He passed it like a point guard with catches distributed to teammates of 5-5-4-4-4-2-1.
Down 20-6 in the 4th quarter, Burrow led a 6 play/66 yard TD drive in 2:32. He capped it with a 4th and 5 spin, create and extend throw and found Ja'Marr Chase on the backline of the endzone for the score.
Down 20-13 with 2:40 left in the game, Burrow marched the Bengals on a 7 play/95 yard game tying TD drive in 81-seconds. He completed throws of 12 yards to Uzomah, 22 yards to Higgins, 29 yards to Boyd, and the 32-yard TD to Chase. He overcame a drive opening 8 yard sack that left him at 2nd and 18 and the Chase TD was on 3rd and 10. Are you kidding me?
What was that? Burrow gutted the 49ers for 210 yards and 2 TDs on 11 of 15 passing in the 4th quarter and OT, including completions of 27, 17, 22, 29, 32, 26 and 23 yards. But after completions of 23 yards (Higgins) and 26 yards (Uzomah) on the first drive of OT, Zac Taylor inexplicably opted to run the ball on 1st and 2nd down. Joe Mixon gained 4 yards and 3 yards then Burrow was sacked on 3rd down and the Bengals settled for an Evan McPherson 41-yard FG. Trailing 17-6, they ran three straight times and punted to begin the 3rd quarter.
Killer sequence: In the final minute of the first half, Phillips muffed a punt at the Bengals 30-yard line, Trey Hendrickson then left with a back injury and veteran captain Vonn Bell was called for taunting. Instead of SF facing 4th and 7 and a FG attempt, it was a 1st down that SF turned into a Kittle TD to lead 17-6 at the half. Officials appeared to selectively not enforce a taunt vs SF later in the game.
More TE Trouble: All everything George Kittle owned the Logan Wilson-less Bengals. 13 catches on 15 targets for 151 yards, TD.
Minus: The Bengals lost the turnover battle again, -2, fumbling twice. They are -4 on the season.
Nothing special: Darius Phillips muffed two punts. "Fool me once shame on you....fool me twice....." Tyler Boyd eventually took over on returns. Trenton Irwin was inactive. Stanley Morgan bobbled a kick return but recovered. McPherson missed a FG (3 of 4), snapping his streak of 15 straight makes. The Bengals averaged 13.3 yards on three kickoff returns and 4.2 on five punt returns. They averaged 17.3 on KR last week.
Of note: Chase had 5 catches for 77 and 2 TD. His 10 TD's break the franchise rookie record of Isaac Curtis (9). He did have a big early 3rd down drop (10th) that would have put them in FG range and lost a 37-yard TD on a replay review. Higgins 5 catches/114 yards...catches of 20, 19, 27, 22 and 26. That's three straight games he's topped 100 yards. CJ Uzomah was tough as nails with 4 catches for 56 yards.
1,000 yard club: Chase is at 1,035 receiving yards, the 3rd rookie WR in franchise history to reach that mark. Joe Mixon is at 1,036 rushing yards. Mixon struggled to get going for the 2nd straight week: 18 carries, 58 yards (3.2). His long of 17th came in the 4th quarter.
Injuries: Trey Hendrickson recorded a sack in his 9th consecutive game (12.5) but left with a back injury before the half and did not return. Isaiah Prince replaced Riley Reiff (ankle) in the 3rd quarter.
Killer drop: Jessie Bates dropped what looked like a Pick 6 with less than 2:00 left in regulation that would have won it.
Slow starts: The Bengals have scored just 47 points in the 1st quarter, but 105 points in the 2nd quarter and 80 in the 3rd (+47 3rd).
Sacks: Hendrickson, Larry Ogunjobi (5.5) and BJ Hill (5.5), DJ Reader (2)
Stand down: In the opening quarter, trailing 3-0 and facing 4th and 1 at SF 19-yard line, Taylor kicked a 37-yard FG. Down 10-3 and facing 4th and 2 at SF
10-yard line late in the first half he kicked a 28-yard FG.
Attendance: 50,481.....a lot of 49ers fans
Next: At 7-6 Denver. The Broncos are 10th in the AFC, one spot behind the Bengals.