What we learned in the Bengals' near-collapse in Week 16 vs. Patriots

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots
Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots / Winslow Townson/GettyImages
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Much like last week but with the halves flipped, it was a tale of two halves for the Cincinnati Bengals in their win. Last week, they fell behind 17-0 in the first half and went on to win 34-23. This week, they led 22-0 but allowed the Patriots to come back and make a game of it. They won 22-18 but man, was that a close call.

Things started out great for Cincinnati, as Joe Burrow completed 11 straight passes and had nearly 300 yards by half time en route to a 22-0 lead.

The second half is when everything started to fall apart, as the Patriots scored 18 points and made a game of it. Were it not for a Patriots fumble in the red zone, Cincinnati might have lost this game and been shaking their heads and wishing for a redo.

With the game in the books, let's take a look at what we learned from this close win.

Bengals need to play a complete game

I love that Cincinnati can come back in a hurry but this whole struggling in one half and balling out in another half might not work out so well for them in the playoffs. If they cough up a 22-0 lead in the postseason, teams aren't going to miss their opportunity to bury them like the Patriots did.

Rough day for McPherson

Part of why the Bengals were only up by four points late in the game was that Evan McPherson struggled mightily in the weather. The Patriots kicker also struggled proving that it likely was the weather that was at fault but it was scary to see McPherson miss multiple times.

La'el Collins injury

Things started to change when La'el Collins left the game in the first half with an injury. It looked nasty on TV and while it's been reported that his ACL is intact, we'll have to see what the verdict is for the Bengals' right tackle. Hakeem Adeniji came in for him and did okay but it's important for this offensive line to all stay healthy and continue to gel together.

dark. Next. 5 Celebrities Who Are Huge Bengals Fans

Next up: The Bengals return to Paycor Stadium for a Monday night battle with the Buffalo Bills with the No. 1 seed on the line.

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