Videos by OutKick
Bad officiating and playoff droughts were the story of the first primetime Super Wild Card matchup. By game’s end, the narrative was all Cincinnati and a Bengals performance resembling a legitimate AFC contender.
The Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders, 26-19, to end interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and quarterback Derek Carr’s resilient season, marred early on by off-field storylines.
Four straight regular-season wins to end the year led the Sin City-Cinderella team to the Wild Card round. Las Vegas found a stride late in the game to keep them in the contest, but Joe Burrow and the Bengals ultimately made fewer mistakes.
The Bengals built a 20-6 lead with less than two minutes left in the second when Burrow rolled out of bounds to avoid the Raiders’ incoming lineman and found Tyler Boyd open in the end zone for a contested score — the first of many unpopular calls made by the game officials.
Las Vegas responded before breaking off for the half — finding Zay Jones in the end zone to move the game closer to a competition. 20-13.
Burrow completed 12-of-18 for 146 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He finished with 24-of-34 passing, 244 yards with the two scores — meeting the postseason assignment in just his second season to become the face of Cincy and Zac Taylor’s incredible run.
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs boosted the Las Vegas’ chances of putting up points in the third quarter with assertive running. Still, the Raiders offense was unable to capitalize in the red zone during a potential turning point of the game.
Las Vegas’ defense kept Cincy’s offensive attack at bay, getting the ball back with two minutes left for a Raiders game-tying drive. A familiar stage for one of the League’s better crunchtime quarterbacks in Carr.
Tonight was different: capping their final attempt in Cincy’s territory with an interception to Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt.
A six-point fourth quarter by the Raiders fell short of the mark.
Ja’Marr Chase did his job to keep the game out of the Raiders’ reach: tallying nine receptions for 116 passing yards. Darren Waller led the Raiders in receiving with 7 catches and 76 yards.
Carr ended one of his better seasons with a solid effort: completing 29-of-54 passes and throwing for 310 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
The Raider finished the year 10-7, losing to the AFC North champs. Cincinnati won its first playoff game since 1991. But for Joe Cool, the Saturday spotlight was a familiar foundation to get the job done, and he did.
Paul Brown Stadium went nuts for Cincinnati’s first postseason win in 31 years.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela