Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase save a Bengals season on the brink in win over Saints
CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - With 2:10 left in the fourth quarter, the Cincinnati Bengals offense took the field with their backs against the wall and their season on the brink.
It took five weeks, three quarters and 13 minutes for the Bengals offense to look anything like it did when it was at its best last season. Before the Bengals’ last drive on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, Joe Burrow hadn’t yet made the type of play that defined their 2021 season.
Finally, the Bengals offense flipped the switch, and it was just in time to save their season. The play was predictable. Burrow to Chase.
On Sunday at the Superdome, the Bengals beat the Saints, 30-26.The Bengals came back from a two-score deficit and their worst first half of the season. With 2:10 left in the game, Burrow threw an out route to Ja’Marr Chase on the left sideline. Chase broke a tackle and ran to the end zone to get the Bengals a win.
Burrow finished the game 28-for-37 for 300 yards, and Chase had 132 receiving yards with two touchdowns.
For weeks, Chase has been frustrated by double teams that have limited his explosive plays. The Bengals offense had become a combination of screens, slants and check downs. Burrow to Chase was the most dangerous quarterback-receiver combination in the NFL last season. The Bengals inability to recreate it for the first third of the 2022 season led to questions about play calling and Zac Taylor’s vision for the offense.
What makes a Super Bowl contender is having stars who can make plays with the game on the line. In their homecoming game to New Orleans, Burrow and Chase made it happen.
If the Bengals didn’t come back on Sunday, it would have been a disaster. Their playoff aspirations would have been in jeopardy. Former Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton would have won a game where the Saints offense was missing all three of its starting receivers. In the middle of the third quarter, it looked like this Bengals nightmare was coming true.
Then Burrow and Chase saved the season.
On the final drive of the second quarter, Burrow dropped back at the 19-yard line against an all-out blitz from the Saints. With a defensive back leaping at his shoulder and a defensive tackle lunging at his legs, Burrow escaped the sack and ran for a 19-yard touchdown.
In the third quarter, the Bengals had one of their best drives of the season to make it a one-score game. Burrow got Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon involved, and Chase scored the 15-yard touchdown. Even though Chase was double teamed, Burrow zipped in a throw to get the Bengals in the end zone.
Then with the Bengals’ backs against the wall in the fourth, Burrow and Chase delivered again.
They rescued the Bengals on a day where their defense was worse than it had been all season. The Bengals faced a team with a backup quarterback and three backup receivers. Even though the Saints only offense was through the run game, the Bengals couldn’t stop the run.
The Bengals fell behind early due to mental mistakes in all three phases. There were bad throws, drops and missed assignments in pass protection on offense. There were far too many missed tackles on defense and multiple blown coverages by Bengals cornerback Eli Apple. Bengals punt returner Trent Taylor fumbled the ball over.
The Bengals gifted the Saints a two-score lead, but Burrow and Chase bailed the team out. In the process, they showed that there could still be some magic in the 2022 Bengals.
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