A few inches seemed to make the difference for the Ravens Sunday night against the Bengals. The whole trajectory of the game changed when Ravens QB Tyler Huntley fumbled at the goal line, reaching over a pile of defenders. Bengals LB Logan Wilson knocked the ball loose. DE Sam Hubbard picked it up and returned the fumble for a 98-yard touchdown. This gave Cincinnati the 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, which is all that they needed.
The contest was a much closer game than anticipated. After a back-and-forth first half, the Ravens had a 10-9 lead heading into halftime. Baltimore certainly had their way during portions of the game. Most notably, the Ravens got their first points of the game with a 17-play drive that shaved off a little over 10 minutes. The drive was capitalized with a J.K. Dobbins two-yard touchdown pass from Huntley.
Cincy had a chance to respond, but the drive was cut short with a turnover. Ravens rookie safety Kyle Hamilton forced a Hayden Hurst fumble, which Hamilton recovered. This led to a go-ahead Justin Tucker field goal.
The Bengals offense could only manage one touchdown in the second half. Joe Burrow called his number for a one-yard touchdown run. They converted the two-point conversion with a connection to Higgins in the back of the endzone. This put them in front 17-10.
Baltimore stayed resilient. They found the endzone again just five plays later with a Huntley 41-yard touchdown to Demarcus Robinson.
After the aforementioned fumble return touchdown for Cincinnati, neither team put together a scoring drive. Baltimore had a chance to win the game on their last possession. Huntley heaved a ball to the endzone on a fourth-and-20. A Ravens receiver nearly hauled it in after a ricochet. Alas, it fell incomplete, sending the Bengals forward to the Divisional Round.
Burrow finished the game 23 of 32 for 209 yards and a touchdown. For the Ravens, Huntley finished 17 of 29 for 226, two touchdowns and an interception. He gave Baltimore a chance to win this game.
AFC Divisional Round
The (3) Cincinnati Bengals will travel to Orchard Park to take on the (2) Buffalo Bills. A matchup that was cancelled a couple short weeks ago due to Damar Hamlin’s scare. This long-awaited game bring a lot of excitement and intrigue. It will be the “first” matchup between Josh Allen vs. Joe Burrow. Hopefully, it is not the last.
This means that the (4) Jacksonville Jaguars will take on the (1) Kansas City Chiefs. The Jags already played in Kansas City earlier this season, losing a close 27-17 contest. Maybe this time will be different. Of course, if the Chiefs and Bills were to advance, the game would be played a neutral site, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Wild Card Round concludes Monday night with the (5) Dallas Cowboys taking on (4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s see if Tom Brady still has any magic left.
Photo Credit: The Enquirer/Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK