The immortal words of “Dangerous” Dan Hoard rang through the radio waves, as Evan McPhearson’s division-winning kick, goes right through the middle of the uprights. The Cincinnati Bengals were AFC North champions for the first time since 2015.
It’s arguably the biggest moment in Paul Brown Stadium history. The roar of the Jungle shook the foundation of the entire Ohio River so much that The Brent-Spence bridge might even be out again.
The Bengals scraped, clawed, and fought their way through a thrilling win over the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs 34-31 to clinch their first AFC North title since 2015.
The firework show that was put on by the Bengal’s offense showed the football world that this could be the start of something truly special in Cincinnati.
The rookie phenom, Ja’Marr Chase deserves the game ball as he goes for 266 yards and three touchdowns on 11 receptions, the most yards by any receiver in the league this year. He also captures the franchise record for most yards per game.
Chase came through in the biggest throw of the game, in which the Bengals converted a crucial 3rd and 27 to keep the drive alive. If this game doesn’t lock Chase as the favorite to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year, I don’t know what will.
Chase’s play this game comes off of the amazing play of Joe Burrow. The Savior, the Assassin, the Franchise, Joe Shiesty, Jackpot Joey, whatever you want to call him, Joe Burrow has brought his first title back to the city of Cincinnati. Burrow threw for 446 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.
Along with having an impeccable game, Burrow also broke the franchise single-season record for both yards and touchdowns. His leadership, and ability to shine in the brightest of lights, have resonated throughout the entire team and organization.
Cincinnati Bengals are now finally in playoffs once again.
One question I have for the entire AFC — “Are the Bengals the best team in the AFC?”
The Bengals just beat the hottest team in the NFL. The Chiefs were riding a 10 game win-streak rolling into the jungle. The Chiefs were also clinging on to the number 1 seed in the AFC. This KC team was fighting to secure that one seed and clinch the first-round bye, so the Bengals weren’t going against any sort of “practice squad” team. Kansas City had quite a lot on the line.
Be that as it may, Cincinnati rose to the challenge on both sides of the ball. While the defense struggled early, Lou Anouromo made much-needed adjustments and held the Chiefs to only three points in the second half.
While the offense put up a firework show, the defense had a gritty and resounding effort to keep the KC offense at bay. The secondary locked Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce (go Bearcats) down in the second half and didn’t allow Patrick Mahomes to get the ball into their hands.
This shows that the Bengals can not only light up the scoreboard but can adjust to any offensive scheme. This makes the stripes incredibly difficult to beat.
The final factor that separates the Bengals is their ability to win in the biggest moments this season. They swept the Ravens and Steelers convincingly and secured a home playoff game against the number 1 seed in the AFC.
Does this make the Bengals the team to beat in the AFC?
In order to answer, you have to ask “Who among the current AFC playoff teams are you worried about?” Might I ask, Who Dey think gonna beat them Bengals?
After handling the red hot Chiefs, I don’t think this team believes they can be beaten by anyone. That’s the most important part of this team — the confidence they ooze heading into important December games. The importance of December/January confidence allows you to play loose, clean and focused. That is the difference between mature and immature.
It feels like this team won’t be faded by bright lights or loud crowds. As Bengals fans, we shouldn’t be afraid of any team in the AFC and embrace competition. We don’t hope for a fluke win or another team to slip up, we go out there and be us. This team has what it takes to beat any team in the AFC.
To quote the hardest line in all of Breaking bad, “The Bengals are the ones who knock!”
I may have edited the quote a tad.