Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Holy. Christmas Moly: Bengals hang on and survive Patriots 22-18

Photo: Getty Images

Bengals 22 Patriots 18

Holy. Christmas Moly.

The Bengals Christmas present was five yards from being a lump of coal Saturday afternoon in Foxboro.

The Bengals raced to a 22-0 lead at the half. But things turned out to be waaaaaaay more difficult than first appeared. Clinging to a 22-18 lead, the Bengals needed a game saving forced fumble by Vonn Bell and recovery by BJ Hill at the Bengals five yard line with :55 remaining. The defense then had to survive one more last ditch drive by the Patriots to seal the win.

Trailing 22-0, the Patriots scored 18 straight points. A 3rd quarter Joe Burrow Pick 6 and a Mac Jones TD pass sliced the lead to 22-12. Then a miraculous 3rd and 29 deflection for a 49-yard TD pass cut the Bengals lead to 22-18 with 6:02 left in the game.,,,,but missed the PAT. Ja'Marr then fumbled on a catch and run with 3:12 remaining and the Patriots marched for what looked like victory.

The Bengals won on a day they turned it over three times and finished minus two. That's seven straight wins, 11 of 13 and an overall record of 11-4. They have topped last year's regular season win total (10-7).


1st half: 48 plays, 303 yards, 22 first downs.......22 points.
1st half advantage: 1st downs 22-3, plays 48-17, yards 303-70.

2nd half: 30 plays, 139 yards, 6 first downs.......0 points.

Easy-peasy: The Bengals marched for back-to-back TD's to start the game...5 plays/78 yards, capped with a 9-yard TD to Tee Higgins (7).....9 plays/58 yards, capped by 23-yard TD pass to Trenton Irwin. They would score on their first three possessions.

Grinding half: After shredding the Patriots defense in the 1st half, the offense went Punt-Pick 6-Punt-Missed FG-Fumble-Punt in the 2nd half.

Burrow: 40 of 52, 375 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 2 sacks, QB rating 99.4. He started 11 for 11 for 145 yards, 2 TD. He was throwing darts and dimes. He was an insane 28 of 36, 284 yards, 3 TD QB rating 115.7 in the first half...with completions to 8 different receivers! He threw a miscommunication red-zone interception intended for Tyler Boyd and a 69-yard Pick-6 miscommunication with Ja'Marr Chase. He's thrown a TD in 22 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL and longest in franchise history. He completed his final six passes vs Tampa Bay and first 11 vs the Patriots. Per Elias, Burrow's 17 straight completions is the 2nd-longest streak by a Bengals QB in the last 40 seasons.

Boxing them out: Tee Higgins (8 catches on 9 targets, 128 yards, TD) had a size advantage on Patriots DBs that he took full advantage of. Burrow tossed him multiple jump balls.

Catches: Chase 8 catches/11 targets, 79 yards. Mitchell Wilcox: 6 targets, 6 catches. Devin Asiasi had his first two catches of the season.

TI=TD X2: Trenton Irwin had two first half TD catches (23, 4). He just missed a fingertip catch of a 25-yard toss by Burrow that would have been his 3rd TD with 9:10 left in the game.

Gutty: I don't know how Boyd is doing this. Surgery on a finger that came through the skin....and on a day with a windchill of 4 degrees....he continues catching everything thrown his way....3 catches/4 targets. And blocking.

Run game: They rushed for just 25 yards on 10 carries in the 1st half. Joe Mixon busted a 19 yard run on the first rush of the 2nd half. Mixon: 16-65 (4.1). Samaje Perine: 4 carries, 3 yards.

Ugly: La'el Collins went down in the 1st quarter after he got clipped from behind and it buckled his lower leg. Hakeem Adeniji replaced him. Collins limped off the field and then was carted to the locker room. He was done for the day. Per Kelsey Conway, Enquirer: Collins who told me he dislocated his knee cap but it popped back into place. Says he’s moving well and believes if he is to miss next week’s game against the Bills (which he says is likely) it would be just that game. It is a not a season-ender."


Rise up: They forced back-to-back three and out possessions to start the game and four consecutive punts. The Patriots first first down came at 13:40 of the 2nd quarter.

What a game: Vonn Bell forced an intentional grounding with a near sack, then came up with the fumble to save the game.

3rd and finally: The Patriots first 3rd down conversion came on the final play of the 3rd quarter. But the Patriots later converted a 3rd and 29 for a TD with 6:00 remaining that made it 22-18. The 3rd and 29 from the 49 came on a possession that saw the Patriots advance to the Bengals 29-yard line.

Foreign territory: The Patriots first snap in Bengals territory came on the first snap of the 4th quarter.

Sack attack: 4 sacks, Logan Wilson, Cam Sample, Josh Tupou, Zach Carter. Sample was everywhere, including 4 tackles, a tackle for loss and QB hit.

Picked on: Rookie Cam Taylor-Britt struggled as the Patriots went after him numerous times, allowing a TD. But he did have two passes defended.

Special Teams

Teams combined for 5 missed kicks: 4 PAT, 4 that counted, and a missed FG.

Evan McPherson missed a wind blown opening PAT....then missed his next PAT attempt, but it was wiped out by a penalty. He connected on a 28-yard field goal. But missed a 43-yarder with 9:00 left in the game.

Patriots kicker Nick Folk missed 2 PAT.

Trent Taylor 18 yard punt return. Trayveon Williams 33-yard kick return.

Drue Chrisman was not needed until 9:00 remained in the 3rd quarter. He later booted a huuuuuuge 48-yarder with :41 left that was muffed out of bounds at the Patriots 27-yard line.

Patriots punter dropped a punt snap/shanked it 22-yards to the Bengals 44 yard line.


The Bengals snapped a seven game losing streak in Foxboro, winning for the first time since December of 1986.

The Patriots defense has six TD's this season....4 Pick 6, 2 fumble returns.

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