The Cincinnati Bengals came up just short of their first-ever Super Bowl championship, falling 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams.
The stripes held the lead from the first play of the third quarter up until the final 1:25 of the game and the referees are to thank for that. After not calling many penalties, a flag was thrown on Logan Wilson, who broke up a pass on 3rd-and-Goal. The Rams received a fresh set of downs and the rest is history.
This loss hurts but let’s check out some of the takeaways from the defeat.
Offensive Line is who we thought they were
After a clean first quarter, the Bengals’ offensive line failed to keep Joe Burrow upright, as the franchise quarterback was sacked seven times, including on the final play of the game. Hopefully, this is a major wake-up call for the front office and the offensive line becomes the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth priority in the offseason.
Joe Mixon/Tee Higgins MVP candidates
Had the Bengals pulled off the win, who would have won MVP? While someone on the defensive side of the ball would have deserved it (Wilson or Sam Hubbard, maybe), it’d have likely gone to an offensive player. In this case, probably Tee Higgins or Joe Mixon.
Mixon ended the game with 15 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown pass (yes, you read that right) while Higgins had four catches for 100 yards and two trips into the end zone. Half of his receptions went for touchdowns, which shows how dominant the second-year wide receiver was in his first-ever Super Bowl.
I guess we’ll never know who would have won, will we?
Defense played lights out
The Bengals might have lost this game but it wasn’t because of their defense, who played incredibly well and kept the lead until the final 1:25. If it wasn’t for the bad call from the referee, the defense would have gotten a huge round of applause here.
Matthew Stafford was picked off twice and sacked twice and the defense was able to hold LA’s offense to just 16 points for most of the game. It’s depressing that it had to end this way.
On the other hand, we have a lot to be excited about with this defense moving forward. They improved tremendously this season.
"Cincinnati Bengals: All-time passing leaders in franchise history"
On a final note, this loss sucks and it’s hard to want to write about it when the team lost in such a heartbreaking fashion, but the Bengals shouldn’t have even been here this season and they continued to fight. I’m proud of what this team accomplished and with Burrow and the rest of the team being so young, there’s no reason to think they won’t be back again next season.
Use this loss as motivation.