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RECAP: Bengals finally hold on, defeat Titans 31-20

Via @Bengals Twitter

Winning feels good.

For the first time in weeks, the Cincinnati Bengals closed out another NFL team, beating the Tennessee Titans 31-20 in an exciting, thoroughly-dominant all-around performance. Joe Burrow was a steady beast again, and this time around, the rest of his team chipped in to give the Bengals their second victory of the season.

First Half

The Bengals received the opening kick-off and began what would be another monster offensive day with a slow-burning 12-play drive that immediately resulted in a field goal. Tennessee followed the Randy Bullock kick with an eight-play drive off their own, advancing deep into Bengal territory before the NFL’s top safety, Jessie Bates, intercepted a double-covered Ryan Tannehill pass in the end zone. Finally, it was the Bengals’ opponent who coughed up an early goal-line turnover and not Cincy themselves.

However, the Bengals were unable to capitalize, gaining a pair of first downs and then stalling out near midfield, forcing a punt. The second Titans possession went the way of the first: a sustained, run-heavy drive that ultimately resulted in nothing due to a missed Stephen Gostkowski field goal (the wind across the state of Ohio was wicked today).

On their next possession, Cincinnati got points on the board following a Tennessee turnover. Another drawn-out, field-crossing drive took nearly five minutes off the clock — and an end-zone pass interference on former Bengal Jonathan Joseph against Tee Higgins set up a one-yard touchdown run by Samaje Perine.

10-nothing, Bengals.

Ahead of the half, the two squads executed another pair of nine and 10-play drives, both ending in touchdowns. Titans running backs Donta Foreman and Derrick Henry pounded the pigskin right down Cincy’s navel and Henry picked up a 3rd-and-goal touchdown.

Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins connected three times on Cincinnati’s scoring drive, including a huge catch in double coverage on 4th & 5 to set up a Giovanni Bernard touchdown a few plays later with just over 30 seconds in the half.

Bonus: For two weeks in a row, Cincinnati hasn’t allowed points in an end-of-half situation. Improvement!

Second Half

In football, the “middle eight” minutes of the game are crucial. With the Titans receiving the ball to start the second half, stopping them from sneaking in a score right before half was vital. So was getting another stop coming out of the half, which the Bengals did following a third-down pass breakup by Vonn Bell (who was key on the earlier Bates INT).

This is where the Bengals won the football game. Two stops in a row vs. Tennessee led to yet another sustained, five-minute Bengals drive ending in a touchdown. This time out, Joe Burrow hit Tyler Boyd three times, the third time for seven yards and a touchdown.

24-7; Cincinnati in total control with 13-plus minutes to go in the fourth.

Predictably, Tennessee picked up the pace next time out, and analytics darling Ryan Tannehill found AJ Brown for a touchdown to cap off a quick rebuttal drive that cut the lead to 10.

Too little too late. Joe Burrow was in rhythm against a reeling Titans defense, taking four more minutes off the clock before finding Gio Bernard for his second touchdown of the day. All but over, 31-14.

The Titans rallied to get another score in 94 seconds off an athletic TD grab by Corey Davis (who was the go-to TEN target all day). But Cincinnati, up 11, turned in another four-plus minute drive before punting the ball away with under 30 ticks left in the game. Finally, a Bengals victory after weeks of losing early leads.

It feels so good. Joe Burrow, Jessie Bates, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, Logan Wilson, and Carl Lawson. That’s the ultra-young foundation of a future winner. Heck, scratch out the myriad mishap games previously this season, and you have a playoff contender now. Either way, those six all had huge plays today. Burrow was himself (which is a historic rookie and improvisational sorcerer), Bates grabbed another INT, Boyd hauled in another 60 yards plus a TD, Wilson recorded Cincy’s only sack, Lawson got constant pressure, and Higgins made some absolutely nuts grabs, including this wonder:

It’s finally an exciting time to be a Bengals fan. As one on the younger side, who’s mostly experienced pain and playoff losses, Joe Burrow is gunning to become my favorite athlete of all time; Legend stuff from the rookie on a weekly basis. And this is a young core to get behind.


Article written by Alex Weber

@alexweberKSR on Twitter.

2 Comments for RECAP: Bengals finally hold on, defeat Titans 31-20

  1. Wildfelinebeeline
    5:27 pm November 1, 2020 Permalink

    Benny Snell and Bud Dupree says Steelers is who dey! Go Steelers!

  2. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    11:29 pm November 1, 2020 Permalink

    Boom! Bengals are the BEST!