Opening thoughts: Bengals 32 Raiders 13
The Bengals came off the bye, went on the road and snapped a two game losing streak and five game skid off the bye, beating the Raiders 32-13.
Leading 10-6 af the half, the Bengals outscored the Raiders 22-7 after the half and 16-0 to end the game, scoring on all five second half possessions.
Going in, the game felt like a pivot point for the season, a loss would have been a third straight and left the Bengals 5-5.
Instead, they are 6-4 and moved from No. 9 in AFC playoff standings to No. 5 and moved to 2nd in the AFC North, behind 7-3 Baltimore.
Their +52 scoring differential is best in the division (Baltimore +17, Pittsburgh -12, Cleveland -7).
At 6-4, the Bengals have equaled their win total in Zac Taylor's first two seasons (6-25-1).
Bengals now 4-2 on the road......had been 1-14-1 on road under Taylor entering the season and 3-20-1 from 2018-2020.
Big answer: The Raiders struck for three big plays (75 yards) and a TD to cut the Bengals lead to 16-13 with 11:42 left in the game. But the Bengals immediately responded with a muscle flexing 12 play/62 yard TD drive to push it back to 22-13...... The drive included Mixon carrying 6 times for 29 yards,
Mike Thomas with a clutch 12-yard catch, a challenge that Taylor won after Raiders had 12 men on the field, converting 3rd and 1 with a Semaje Perine run and Burrow going 3 of 5 for 27 yards to three different WR and making his best throw of the day on 3rd and goal TD to Chase with 5:03 remaining. They went on a 16-0 run to finish off the game with the defense sealing thing with two turnovers.
3rd down success: 8 of 16, including 5 of 6 on 3rd and short: 3rd and 1 Perine catch, 3rd and 1 Higgins catch, 3rd and 1 Boyd catch, 3rd and 4 CJ catch, 3rd and 1 Perine run. The only 3rd and short failure was 3rd and 1 Chase jet sweep.
Joe Show: Joe Mixon carried 30 times rushed for 123 yards. The Bengals stuck with the run despite just 13 yards on Mixon's first 9 carries and 26 yards on his 11 first half carries. Mixon had five runs of negative yards(-3, -2, -1, -2, -5). But the second half payoff was 19 carries for 97 yards and major 4th quarter damage: 19-yard run with Jonah Williams and Drew Sample leading way and 20-yard coffin-nailing TD run to finish the game with 3:51 left. Mixon had an 8-yard run on a fake flea flicker....where he faked the pitch back to Burrow and then kept running. Not sure I've ever seen that.
Boom time! Evan McPherson kicked four field goals including boots of 54-53-51-47. He's 6 of 7 from 50+ yards this season. His six of 50+ is a single season franchise record. Not bad use of a 5th round draft pick. He did miss his first PAT.
Quite Joe: Burrow threw his first TD in 8 quarters and wound up 20 of 29 for a career-low 148, with 1 TD and was sacked 3 times. His opening drive fumble led to a Las Vegas FG. He got smacked a number of times (his season flashed before my eyes on one hit) forced some throws and was indecisive at times.
Chase strikes, again: Ja'Marr Chase caught a 6-yard 4th quarter TD to make it 22-13. He has 8 TD's in 10 games.
T.O.P The Bengals had the ball for 70 plays and 37:20 to the Raiders 47 plays and 22:40. The Bengals passed it 29 times and ran it 38 times.
Discipline: The Bengals committed just one penalty (BJ Hill) with 3:04 left in the game. The Raiders committed 7 for 77 yards, including infractions on four of the Bengals scoring drives. You can take the Raiders out of Oakland and L.A., but you can't take the penalties out of the Raiders.
Bengals have committed league low 40 penalties, 8 fewer than next team. Opponents: 73. NFL average: 65.1 penalties.
Bengals 343 penalty yards are 86 fewer than next team (Seattle) and 222 below league average of 565.
WR work: Boyd 6 on 8 for 49 yards, Chase 3 on 6 for 32 yards, TD, Higgins 2 on 3 for 15 yards. Tee had big tackle to save TD on Burrow fumble. Stanley Morgan had a big blow on Mixon TD run. Mike Thomas had a nice 12-yard catch.
Defense: Held the Raiders to 278 yards of offense and 1 for 7 on 3rd down.
Big stand early: D forced Raiders FG after early sudden change off Burrow opening drive fumble.
Big finish late: 2 turnovers in 4th quarter
-Trey Hendrickson recorded a late-game strip sack that was recovered by Sam Hubbard and returned for 43 yards. That's 9.5 sacks in 10 games for the offseason free agent add.
Hubbard had a sack, 2 tackles for loss and fumble recovery.
-Eli Apple came up with a 4th quarter pick with the score 22-13.
Kryptonite: Raiders TE's....8 catches/135 yards, TD....led by Darren Waller's 7-116. RB/WR combined: 11-80.
Special teams: Chris Evans and Clay Johnston had big stick on kick returns. Darius Phillips kick return of 32-yards.
Next: Three straight home games starting with the Steelers.....and 5 of final 7 on the road.
Odds: Bengals open as 4.5 point favorite at home vs Steelers....Over/Under 45.5........per BetOnLine.ag