3 takeaways from Bengals’ curse-breaking Wild Card win vs. Raiders

Evan McPherson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Evan McPherson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals won a playoff game for the first time in 31 years and it was quite the finish at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday night.

The good guys were leading 26-16 but the Raiders narrowed the lead to 26-19 and had the ball with the chance to tie it (or even win it with a two-point conversion) in the final seconds.

Again, quite the finish for a team looking to end a 31-year playoff drought but they got the job done and for the first time since 1991, they’re moving on in the playoffs.

Let’s check out our takeaways from the game.

Injuries were brutal

This game saw the likes of Larry Ogunjobi, Trey Hendrickson, Mike Daniels, and Mike Hilton all get banged up at one point but the biggest loss was easily that of Hendrickson. As soon as Hendrickson went down, the pass rush was practically non-exist and that’s why Derek Carr was able to get the ball where he wanted it. He had all of the time in the world to throw.

Offense fired on all cylinders early but cooled off

On the Bengals’ first five possessions, they put points on the board. Joe Burrow was doing just about whatever he wanted on the early drives, hooking up with Ja’Marr Chase play after play and attacking whoever was tasked with stopping Chase.

Cincinnati put up 20 points in the first half and it looked like it’d be a long day for the Raiders defense. They struggled to stop Chase and weren’t able to get home to Burrow much.

In the second half, however, Cincy scored just six points by way of two Evan McPherson field goals and when they were tasked with trying to put the game out of reach for Vegas, the playcalling was less than stellar, especially on that final offensive possession. When a team has a quarterback like Burrow, they should put the game in his hands and not do a bunch of running plays. Not in a game with this high of stakes.

Money Mac

The MVP of this game should honestly be Evan McPherson, who connected on all four field goals while also knocking through both extra-point attempts asked of him. All in all, Money Mac was responsible for 14 of the Bengals’ 26 points.

Don’t knock drafting a kicker ahead of the sixth round because McPherson proved that sometimes it’s worth it. He was sensational in his first-ever NFL playoff game.

"6 oldest NFL players to ever wear a Bengals uniform"

This was such a big win for not only the Bengals organization but for the entire city of Cincinnati. This town and these fans just wanted a playoff win and now they finally have it. No more will we have to hear about “31 years” this and “three decades” that.

Nope — The Bengals now have a playoff drought streak of zero. Feels good, doesn’t it fans? Who Dey!