NEW ORLEANS – It was hauntingly familiar, but not in a good way for the home fans this time.
Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow trailed the New Orleans Saints 7-0, 17-7 and 17-14 Sunday at the Louisiana Superdome just like he did as LSU’s quarterback in the national championship game against Clemson here on Jan. 13, 2020.
Burrow and his LSU and Cincinnati teammate Ja’Marr Chase came back to win each time.
Burrow hit Chase, a New Orleans native, on a 60-yard touchdown pass with 1:57 to play for a come-from-behind, 30-26 win at the dome. Chase finished with seven catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. In LSU’s 42-24 national title win over Clemson less than three years ago, Burrow hit Chase nine times for 221 yards and two touchdowns.
This one was not a title game. Each team limped in at 2-3, but the Bengals are the .500 club walking out.
Burrow completed 28 of 37 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns, and he finally beat Andy Dalton, the nine-year Bengals’ starting quarterback that Cincinnati released before the 2020 season after drafting Burrow with the first pick of the ’20 draft. He had lost two to Dalton, who was with Dallas and Chicago, respectively in 2020 and ’21 wins over the Bengals.
Burrow cut the Saints’ lead to 23-21 with 3:30 to play in the third period on a 15-yard touchdown pass to Chase, the fifth pick of the first round to Cincinnati in 2021 out of LSU. The Saints went up 26-21 with 11:07 remaining on a 31-yard field goal by Wil Lutz – his fourth of the game.
Bengals Overcome Critical Sacks
Burrow drove Cincinnati to a first down at the Saints’ 24-yard line in the fourth quarter for a potential go-ahead touchdown, but linebackers Demario Davis and Kaden Eliss sacked him back-to-back for losses of 17 yards. That forced a 52-yard field goal by Evan McPherson, keeping New Orleans ahead at 26-24 with 3:41 left.
Burrow, as he often did at LSU, called his own number and scored on a 19-yard rush to get the Bengals within 17-14 with 5:44 left before halftime. A 30-yard Lutz field goal gave the Saints a 20-14 halftime lead, and he made that 23-14 on a 37-yard boot midway through the third quarter.
Dalton gave the Saints a 7-0 lead over Burrow early in the first quarter on an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith. Dalton, subbing for injured starting quarterback Jameis Winston, completed just 7 of 15 passes in the first half for 73 yards, while Burrow was 15 of 17 for 126 yards.