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Six Takeaways From the Bengals' 26-19 Win Over the Raiders

The drought is over.

For the first time since 1991, the Bengals have won a playoff game. 

After 8 straight losses in the postseason, the Bengals have finally come out victorious. 

It was not easy, but they made it happen. The entire City of Cincinnati can finally let out a sigh of relief as they have overcome one of their largest obstacles. It doesn’t stop here however as they will now (most likely) go on the road to Tennessee to play the Titans. 

Here are our takeaways from the game.

The City Showed Up

The City of Cincinnati showed up for this playoff game. They had a record-breaking 66,277 fans in attendance. It’s awesome to see a city that excited about a return to the playoffs and they did everything they could to make life hard on the Raiders. 

The Raiders wasted a timeout because of communications issues that likely stemmed from crowd noise and they were called for three false starts. That’s all thanks to the fans at the game. They were loud and it caused issues for the Raiders offense. Hats off to those in attendance for being a big part of the victory yesterday.

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Joe Burrow Stays Hot

Joe Burrow may not have thrown for another 400 yard game with four touchdowns, but he played some really good football. 

He threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns with a 70.6 completion percentage. Burrow averaged 7.17 yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 110.4. By Ben Baldwin’s metrics, he had an EPA per play of 0.28 which is above average with a completion percentage over expected at 11.2, which is also very good. 

Even more than just looking at all of the statistics it felt like he was in complete control the entire game. He had three amazing passes in the two touchdowns and the seam ball to split the safeties in Cover 2. To go with the actual throwing of the ball, he also did a really nice job sorting out protections and pointing out blitzes. He helped the offensive line pick up a few of them including one where the slot corner came off of the edge. He also did not allow too many pressures to turn into sacks by getting rid of the ball early and escaping the pocket when necessary. An A+ game from the Bengals' second-year signal caller.

Ja’Marr Chase Breaks Another Record

Ja’Marr Chase breaks yet another record yesterday as he goes for 116 yards in his first-ever playoff game. This breaks Cris Collinsworth's record for most yards by a rookie in a Bengals playoff game. Not only did he have 116 yards receiving but he did so by catching nine of his 12 targets. He was once again the main weapon of the Cincinnati Bengals offense and they treated him as such. The Bengals isolated him against all of the Raiders’ lower-end cornerbacks and he toasted them the entire game. He did not come away with a touchdown, but he made some of the best plays of the night. Whether it was finding a way to get his feet down on the sideline or putting Desmond Trufant on the ground with a veteran push-off move, he was constantly open and moving the Bengals' offense.

Jessie Bates Puts It All Together

Jessie Bates has been the subject of some criticism this season due to not playing up to his usual standard. However, he had one of his best games of the season against the Raiders. He broke up a pass to Hunter Renfrow that would have been a huge gain, laid out a receiver after he caught a pass, and broke up another ball in the end zone. He showed just how much of an effect he can have on a game yesterday and why the Bengals should extend him. He was one of the MVPs of the game and it was really nice to see him get back to form.

Germaine Pratt Seals It

Germaine Pratt would be my choice for MVP of the game. After an early screw up where he didn’t take the shallow route coming to him in mesh, he played some inspired football, especially in the 4th quarter when the game was on the line. He put the clamps on Darren Waller twice in the 4th quarter where he ended up matched up with him without help. There are not many linebackers who can do that, but Pratt has been exceptional at matching players in coverage all year. The area that he struggles with somewhat is his spot drop zone, but he made the biggest play of the night in a spot drop hook on 4th-and-goal. Pratt saved the day as he recognized what the Raiders were trying to do on 4th down. Once Carr started to wind up his throw, he broke on the ball and was able to come away with his second career interception. A spectacular way to end the 31 years of suffering for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Protection Holds Up (For The Most Part)

Going into the game the talk was if the Bengals protection could hold up against the fearsome defensive line of the Las Vegas Raiders. For the most part, the protection was able to hold up, especially in the first half of the game. 

Jonah Williams, Quinton Spain, and Trey Hopkins did not allow a single pressure in this game against the Raiders. A left side that is dominant in pass protection is something to covet.  

The Bengals left Isaiah Prince on an island for a lot of this game and he paid it off early. In the first half, I only counted one or two pressures caused by him, but then the Raiders made some adjustments in the second half and went to more stunts and games. Prince did not process everything well and it hurt. He ends the day with five pressures allowed along with a sack according to Pro Football Focus. He was beaten more often than that in the second half too, but Burrow does a great job of managing pressure. Still, after all of the talk that was going on in the national media about how the Bengals pass protection and the offensive line will kill them, only having one player have half of a bad game is pretty nice. They’ll need to keep this up in the divisional round if they want to pull off an upset and go to the AFC Conference Championship Game.

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