Well, it wasn't pretty, but a win is a win! The Cincinnati Bengals held off the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card round to advance to the AFC Divisional Round for a date with the Buffalo Bills.
What did we learn about the Bengals in their 24-17 victory?
Bend but don't break defense
Let's just be real here for a sec -- The Bengals defense didn't look like themselves in this one. They allowed Tyler Huntley to look like a franchise quarterback throughout the game and got gashed against the Ravens rushing attack.
Yet, the game came down to the defense making key stops or making a key play when needed and they delivered. The game really shifted momentum when the Ravens looked to be close to taking a 24-17 lead but Huntley fumbled the ball while trying to dive over the pile on a QB sneak. Sam Hubbard picked the ball up and ran it all the way back for a touchdown to put the Bengals up by 24-17 instead.
Defense wins championships and while this unit got exposed quite a bit in this game, they fought back when it mattered most.
Offense went cold when it mattered most
After the offense got off to a quick 9-0 start (one field goal and a touchdown with a missed extra point), the Bengals offense only scored one more touchdown for the rest of the game. The run game never got going and Joe Burrow couldn't make much happen in the second half.
All season long, the Bengals have been a team of two halves and while their defense bailed them out in the second half with that Hubbard touchdown, that's not going to happen every week. It was concerning to see them stumble in the most important moments.
The Bengals lost another offensive lineman to injury in the Wild Card win, this time it was Jonah Williams who went down. Williams' left leg buckled in the first half and he lef tthe game and didn't return. Jackson Carman took his place and looked okay at first but surrendered a sack and had a penalty in the second half.
This was a nail-biter and while a win is a win, the Cincinnati Bengals have to play better than this if they want to get past the Bills next week.