Bengals advance to AFC Championship Game with 19-16 win over Titans
For the first time since 1988, the Bengals are in the AFC Championship Game.
Cincinnati used a last-second, 52-yard field goal to defeat the conference’s No. 1 seed Tennessee 19-16.
The Bengals were ahead 16-6 after Joe Mixon’s 16-yard touchdown run with 9:34 left in the third quarter. But the Titans scored 10 straight points to tie the game at 16 at the end of the third quarter.
The Titans had a couple of fourth-quarter opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize on them. With 7:21 left in the game, the Bengals stuffed running back Derrick Henry for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-1 from the Cincinnati 35.
But a critical turnover at the end of the game put Cincinnati in position to win. With 28 seconds left, quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s pass was tipped off the hands of receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and landed in linebacker Logan Wilson’s hands for an interception.
With the ball on the Cincinnati 47, quarterback Joe Burrow and receiver Ja’Marr Chase immediately got the Bengals into field-goal range with a 19-yard completion to the Tennessee 34.
A few plays later, kicker Evan McPherson sent a 52-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired to win the game.
It was his fourth field goal of the contest, with the rest coming from 38, 45, and 54 yards out.
The Titans tied an NFL postseason record with nine sacks on Burrow, but the quarterback stayed resolute throughout the contest. He finished 28-of-37 passing for 348 yards with an interception.
Chase had five receptions for 109 yards as well.
Tannehill finished 15-of-24 for 220 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. While running back Derrick Henry returned for his first game since October, he had just 62 yards on 20 carries. D’Onta Foreman had 66 yards on just four carries.
But Tennessee’s offense finished just 1-of-8 on third down, keeping the unit from extending drives.
Cincinnati finished 7-of-15 in the same category.
The victory represents the Bengals’ first road postseason win in team history. The club was previously 0-7.
The Bengals will be back on the road next week to face the winner of Sunday’s matchup between the Bills and Chiefs.