3 takeaways from Bengals’ first-ever road playoff win vs. Titans

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals are going to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1988, thanks to the leg of Evan McPherson. Cincy toppled Tennessee 19-16 and it came down to the game-winning kick by McPherson, which he knocked through with ease.

Let’s check out some takeaways from the three-point victory.

Money Mac MVP

That’s why you draft a kicker! McPherson not only knocked through all four field goals and the one extra point asked of him but one of his field goals was the game-winner with four seconds on the clock.

The Bengals got some crap for taking a kicker in the fifth round of the draft but McPherson has proven to be worth the investment. He was the MVP of that game and I don’t even think it’s particularly close.

Offensive Line Woes

Nine times. That’s how many times Joe Burrow was sacked in the 19-16 victory and had the team lost the game, this would have been the biggest talking point throughout the offseason.

It still will be a talking point whenever Cincinnati’s season does come to an end but could you imagine if that was the final game of the Bengals’ 2021 season? The offensive line would have been talked about until we were blue in the face.

The entire o-line was bad on Saturday and this team cannot afford to not put a lot of cash into the offensive line during the offseason. No one’s job should be safe and this team should go out and find the best veterans in free agency to make this group better. Absolutely unacceptable for Burrow to be getting sacked nine times.

Bengals continue to find ways to win

Did people feel confident that this team would win the game when the Titans had the ball at the 2-minute warning? I certainly wasn’t confident by that point.

After Ryan Tannehill threw an interception to Logan Wilson, however, everything fell into place. Burrow connected with Ja’Marr Chase to get the team in McPherson’s preferred range. From there, the rest is history.

It wasn’t looking good for Cincinnati. Burrow was sacked nine times. The run game totaled just 65 yards. Chidobe Awuzie had his worst game of the season. The pass rush wasn’t getting home.

Yet, when the dust had settled, the good guys persevered and will be in the AFC title game for the first time since 1988.

"Cincinnati Bengals: All-time passing leaders in franchise history"

Wild. Absolutely wild.