CINCINNATI — It might've been a curse or just bad luck. Maybe it was all a coincidence. Maybe it was just a bad stretch in franchise history.
Bengals fans can breathe a sigh of relief on Saturday night. They can crack open the HuDey Delight and celebrate a win that was three decades in the making.
The drought is over. Cincinnati has won a playoff game.
The Bengals beat the Raiders 26-19 at Paul Brown Stadium. It's their first postseason win since Jan. 6, 1991.
Here are some postgame observations:
Call him Jackpot Joey, Joey Franchise or Joe Brrr, but Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is different.
The 25-year-old didn't flinch in his first postseason start.
Burrow led the Bengals on five-straight scoring drives to start the game.
Cincinnati trailed 3-0 early in the first quarter, but Burrow took the offense on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession to give them the lead for good.
Burrow completed 24-of-34 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns.
Ja'Marr Chase played like one of the best wide receivers in the NFL on Saturday night. The rookie finished with nine receptions for 116 yards. He also had 23 yards rushing.
Chase made big plays all night long and in crucial situations. This is why the Bengals selected him with the No. 5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Questionable Decision Making
Zac Taylor called back-to-back runs with 3:29 remaining and a 7-point lead. The Bengals lost one yard on the two plays, which put them in a bad position on 3rd-and-11.
Burrow competed a pass to C.J. Uzomah for seven yards, but the Bengals were forced to punt.
The Raiders drove downfield to Cincinnati's nine yard line, but Germaine Pratt intercepted Derek Carr's pass on fourth down to secure the victory.
Evan McPherson made all four of his field goal attempts on Saturday night. He also converted both of his extra point attempts.
The four field goals set a new Bengals postseason record.
The rookie has been money for Cincinnati and that continued in cold, windy Paul Brown Stadium with the season on the line.
Bates is Back
Jessie Bates played great against the Raiders, finishing with six tackles and three passes defensed.
He only had four passes defensed all season, which gives Saturday night's performance some context. The 24-year-old might not have been great this year, but he stepped up in big moments and helped Cincinnati win their first playoff game in more than three decades.
The Bengals will likely hit the road for a matchup in the divisional round next week. They won't know their opponent until after Sunday's games.
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