The Bengals win their first road playoff game in franchise history to advance to the AFC Championship game for the first time since the 1988 season; Cincinnati will be back on the road to take on the winner of the Chiefs-Bills matchup at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night
Last Updated: 23/01/22 3:03am
Cincinnati Bengals rookie kicker Evan McPherson hit a 52-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to send them to the AFC Championship game with a 19-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville.
Story of the Game
With the score tied at 16-16 inside the final minute, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill tossed his third interception of the game – Logan Wilson reeling in the deflected pass – to see Cincinnati take over from their own 47-yard line with 20 seconds to play.
Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow then found Ja’Marr Chase with a 19-yard strike on the next play to move the Bengals into field goal range and McPherson did the rest from 52 yards out – his fourth successful field goal of the game.
Burrow overcame being sacked a staggering nine times, as well as throwing one pick, to help earn his team the win. The second-year starter completed 28 of 37 passes for 348 yards. Rookie Chase had five catches for 109 yards.
The Bengals won their first road playoff game in franchise history to advance to the AFC title game for the first time since the 1988 season. Cincinnati will be back on the road next Sunday to take on the winner of the Kansas City Chiefs vs Buffalo Bills matchup at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night.
Tennessee’s Derrick Henry rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown while playing in his first game since breaking his foot on October 31, while Titans receiver A.J. Brown had a big night with five catches for 142 yards and a TD, but for both the season is now over.
- Passing: Joe Burrow, 28/37, 348 yards, 1 INT
- Rushing: Joe Mixon, 14 carries, 54 yards, 1 TD
- Receiving: Ja’Marr Chase, five catches, 109 yards
- Tee Higgins, seven catches, 96 yards
- Passing: Ryan Tannehill, 15/24, 220 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
- Rushing: D’Onta Foreman, four carries, 66 yards
- Derrick Henry, 20 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD
- Receiving: A.J. Brown, five catches, 142 yards, 1 TD
|Bengals 3-0 Titans||Evan McPherson 38-yard field goal|
|Bengals 6-0 Titans||Evan McPherson 45-yard field goal|
|Bengals 6-6 Titans||Derrick Henry three-yard TD run (failed two-point conversion)|
|Bengals 9-6 Titans||Evan McPherson 54-yard field goal|
|Bengals 16-6 Titans||Joe Mixon 16-yard TD run (extra point)|
|Bengals 16-9 Titans||Randy Bullock 34-yard field goal|
|Bengals 16-16 Titans||Ryan Tannehill 33-yard TD pass to A.J. Brown (extra point)|
|Bengals 19-16 Titans||Evan McPherson 52-yard field goal|
On the very first play from scrimmage to open the contest, Tannehill tossed his first of three interceptions, with Jessie Bates coming down with the football for the Bengals.
The turnover helped set up the first of three first-half field goals for McPherson and Cincinnati, who were dealing with their own struggles on offense as Burrow was repeatedly harassed by the Titans defensive line.
Tennessee tied the game at 6-6 midway through the second quarter as Henry marked his return to action with a three-yard touchdown off of a direct snap. Henry would be denied, however, on the subsequent two-point conversion attempt.
After McPherson’s third field goal gave Cincinnati a 9-6 half-time lead, the visitors then opened up a 10-point advantage as they drove 65 yards on nine plays to open the second half, with Joe Mixon rumbling in from 16 yards out for the score.
Tannehill would then throw his second pick of the night, but it would be a Burrow interception later in the third quarter that would prove most costly.
The Titans had just made it a one-score game thanks to a 34-yard Randy Bullock field goal, and on the very next play from scrimmage Amani Hooker would claw in the interception inches from the turf. Three plays later, Tannehill hit Brown for a 33-yard touchdown, with the Tennessee receiver pulling off a stunning one-handed catch in the endzone.
The hosts would have a couple of chances to put the game away in the fourth quarter, but, firstly, when going for it on 4th-and-1 from the Cincinnati 35-yard line, Henry was stuffed for a loss of two yards to turn the ball over on downs.
And then on Tennessee’s next possession, Tannehill threw up his third interception of the game to gift the Bengals the opportunity to ice the game and McPherson duly obliged.
The Bengals will now travel to either the Buffalo Bills or the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC Conference Championship game next Sunday, February 30.
The Bills and Chiefs first battle it out at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night (Kick-Off, 11.30pm) as the divisional round concludes with a double-header live on Sky Sports NFL, starting with the Los Angeles Rams at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (KO, 8pm) in the NFC.
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