Bengals 30 Saints 26
The Bengals rallied from another double digit deficit and this time they hung on to beat the Saints 30-26 in New Orleans and pull even at 3-3 on the season.
The Bengals did not lead until 1:57 remained in the game.
Trailing 26-24 with 2:10 left in the game and season teetering, the duo of Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase did their thing. Chase took a 1st down 10-yard pass at midfield, broke a tackle along the sideline and raced 50 more yards for the go-ahead/winning TD. The Bengals defense then delivered a 3rd and 10 sack of Andy Dalton by BJ Hill and Sam Hubbard with :39 remaining and a final play pass breakup by Eli Apple and Dax Hill on a pass inside the Bengals 10 yard line.
Battered...but not broken: With a backup QB and three wide receivers called up from the practice squad this week, the Saints ran roughshod over the Bengals for 228 yards, 164 of those in the first half. But the Bengals defense held the Saints to field goals on four consecutive red zone drives, including three consecutive 14 play drives...that consumed 5:43, 7:48, 7:23. But when it mattered most, the Bengals forced a punt and then got a stop on downs over the final two drives. They remain the only team in the NFL that hasn't allowed a second half touchdown.
Season saver? Percentage of teams making playoffs since 1990 with 3-3 record (34.5)......2-4 (10.4).....per CBS.
30+ points: It was the first time in 11 games (including playoffs) the Bengals reached 30 points...... since Week 17 in the 34-31 win over the Chiefs. They scored a TD in all four quarters.
Burrow: 28 of 37, 300 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks and a beauty of a dashing 19-yard rushing TD run. He was patient with nickel and diming and taking what the Saints were offering with short passes. He got in a rhythm and got rolling in the 2nd half: 11 of 12 for 179 and 2 TD. QB rating season high 127.0. He got walloped by Demarco Davis after releasing a pass on a play that drew a personal foul. He took all but two snaps from the shotgun (sneak/knee).
Chase 7-132-2 TD on 10 targets. Boyd 6 on 6 targets/66 yards. Higgins 6 on 10 targets/47 yards. Hurst had a couple of big 8 and 9 yard catches early.
To within striking distance: Trailing 26-21 with 11:07 left, the Bengals marched 13 plays/7:25 and settled for a FG. Burrow made an amazing escape/scramble/throw to Boyd on 3rd down and Chase used his body for a 3rd and 8 catch. They had to overcome a hold on La'el Collins that made it 1st and 20.....and later, back to back sacks that pushed them to 2nd and 17 and 3rd and 27. Evan McPherson's 52-yard FG gave the Bengals a shot, cutting the deficit to 26-24.
Slow start/strong finish: Drive No. 1 Joe Mixon whiffed on a 3rd and 1 block and Burrow was sacked. Drive No. 2 Burrow threw wide and incomplete on 3rd down. From there: 12-75 TD, Punt, 10-75 TD, 7-75 TD, 13-41 FG, 1-60 TD.
Run game: Mixon 8 for 45 (5.6). Mixon added a nice 3rd and goal 9-yard TD catch for their first score. 4 catches on 5 targets. Touches: 12 for 68 yards (5.4).
Allowed 399 yards, including 228 rushing....but forced four red zone field goals......stoning drives at Bengals 16-12-19-13.
Crunch time: Trailing 26-24 with 2:16 left, Hendrickson got a big 3rd down pressure to force a punt.
Run game: 34 carries/228 yards, 6.7 per....including consecutive runs of 44-24-30 yards. They entered the game allowing just 99.6 yards per game on the ground (7th NFL). Might have missed more tackles than all season combined. But.... 1st half 17 carries/164 yards (9.6).....2nd half 17 carries/64 yards (3.7).
Stick around: The Saints FG drive to end half (5:43) and FG drive to being the 3rd quarter (7:48) took just over 13 consecutive minutes off the clock. Trey Hendrickson's roughing the passer on 3rd and 25 was a killer. The Saints ran 71 plays to the Bengals 54 for the game.
Pass game: Dalton 17 of 32, 162 yards, TD, sacked once...QB rating 77.9
Flasher: Joseph Ossai flashed with a big early 3rd down pressure and drew a holding call later.
Picked on: Eli Apple had a rough day, repeatedly targeted by Dalton. ...but he did stick Taysom Hill for -1 on a run that helped stopped a drive late in first half.
Trent Taylor fumbled his first punt return after an 18-yard return and it set up a Saints TD for a 7-0 lead. Later, Taylor added another 18-yarder. Kevin Huber averaged 43.7 on three punts, including a 50-yarder. McPherson is now 16 for his last 18 from 50+ yards. The game winning drive was jump started by a 24-yard shank of a Blake Gillikin punt that gave the Bengals the ball at their own 40.
Injuries: Jeff Gunter injured his left knee in pregame warmups and was out for the game. Late in the 1st half, Josh Tupou went down with a calf injury. Jay Tufele (DT), a waiver wire pickup late in camp, got his first snaps of the season. Logan Wilson left late with a shoulder injury.
Double digit deficits: 17-3 Steelers, 17-3 Cowboys, 10-0 Ravens, 17-7 Saints.
Rally time: It was the second time this season they've rallied to win after trailing headed to the fourth quarter.
AFC North: The Ravens lost to the Giants (24-20) to fall to 3-3 on the season. The Browns (2-4) lost to the Patriots 38-15. The Steelers (2-4) beat the Buccaneers 20-18.