Let’s be clear, the result of the Raiders vs Bengals Super Wild Card matchup was not what we wanted, but we have to admit the Las Vegas Raiders exceeded our expectations this season. Especially when factoring in the adversities all players and faculty had to battle through week to week, from injuries to layoffs, the Silver & Black fought throughout a very respectable 2021 season.
Shortly following last week’s victory against the Los Angeles Chargers, Derek Carr channeled the legendary Kobe Bryant stating that “the job’s not done”. That was the right mentality to set going into this week. Unfortunately the Raiders fell short with a 19-26 loss at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was efficient in his performance throwing 24 completions on 34 attempts with 244 yards and two touchdowns. Bengals wide-receiver and “Rookie Of The Year” contender Ja’Marr Chase racked up 139 total yards and added in a few rushes. Derek Carr felt it calling in the air tonight with 29 completions on 54 attempts with 310 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Daniel Carlson kicked a 47-yard field goal for the Raiders opening possession to start things off right. The Bengals answered back with Burrow and tight end C.J. Uzomah connecting on a 7-yard touchdown pass, the first touchdown of the game. Carlson and Bengals kicker Evan McPherson traded a few more field goals to set the score to 6-13, and both quarterbacks scored touchdowns during their last possessions before the halftime break.
In a kicker showdown for much of the second half, it felt like the Raiders still had a window of time to make some magic happen. Trailing at 19-26 with about 2 minutes on the clock, the Raiders were able to rally to the 9-yard line due to big plays by running back Josh Jacobs, receiver Zay Jones, and tight end Darren Waller. Sadly on the last play of the game, Carr wasn’t able to get a clean look and threw his lone pick to Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt for a fourth down interception.
This Cincinnati Bengals victory was decades in the making, marking the team’s first playoff victory in 31 years. With a young roster, the Bengals went from the bottom in the AFC North in 2020 (4-11) to the top in 2021 (10-7). Coach Zac Taylor dedicated the game balls to the city. “Some of them might not understand the significance of what happened today. The city can finally enjoy this team and take the pressure off of the last 31 years. Today was significant for a lot of people,” said Taylor.
Hats off to the Bengals. Even with some sub-par officiating, we have to give credit where it’s due. This 2021 season has been quite a wild ride but we are grateful to have come this far after the distractions from Gruden and Ruggs. The Las Vegas Raiders still have not won a playoff game in 19 years, but we are positive that it’s about to end real soon.