ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Cincinnati Bengals are headed back to the AFC Championship Game.
The protecting conference champs revealed why they may be the very best group in the AFC for the 2nd straight year, beating the Buffalo Bills 27-10 in the divisional round to establish another title tilt versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sunday’s video game in Buffalo was Cincinnati’s most commanding playoff efficiency over the previous 2 years, including its go to the Super Bowl last season. It was an additional sign this season’s Bengals group is much better than the one that lost 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI last February.
Cincinnati never ever had a possibility to stake its claim as the AFC’s front runner in the routine season. But the Bengals highlighted their benefits in Buffalo.
Troubling pattern: Cincinnati needs to be worried about the future of its offending line. Bengals center Ted Karras appeared to play through a concealed injury throughout the video game. The tv broadcast showed Karras had a best knee concern, however he hammered out it to end up the video game. The Bengals can’t manage to lose anymore offending linemen. Cincinnati started Sunday’s divisional video game with 3 reserves beginning. If Karras decreases, too, that leaves novice left guard Cordell Volson as the only Week 1 starter on the system. There is some solace for Cincinnati’s offending line, nevertheless. Even with the backups in the fold, the Bengals ran the ball efficiently and did an excellent task of safeguarding Joe Burrow throughout the video game.
QB breakdown: This was among the very best playoff efficiencies of Burrow’s young profession. He was 23-of-36 for 242 lawns and 2 goals and finished his very first 9 passes of the video game. Even a few of the incompletions, consisting of a potential goal toss to Ja’Marr Chase that was nullified, were excellent. Burrow took the below tosses when readily available and rushed to get lawns if required. He likewise passed Ken Anderson for the most postseason passing lawns in franchise history and assisted Cincinnati preserve a comfy lead over Buffalo for almost the whole video game.
Describe the video game in 2 words: Dominating efficiency. Cincinnati went on the roadway, in snowy conditions, with reserves along the offending line and never ever looked bothered versus the Bills. The Bengals were six-point underdogs in the hours leading up to kickoff, according to Caesars Sportsbook. In among the NFL’s a lot of raucous environments, the protecting AFC champs revealed why they are one video game from going back to the Super Bowl.
Underrated figure to understand: With Buffalo’s defense figured out not to permit Cincinnati any huge plays, sustaining offending drives was vital to the Bengals’ success. Cincinnati transformed 5 of its very first 8 3rd downs, which played a huge function in the group’s capability to have fun with a lead. The Bengals had 30 very first downs in the video game. — Ben Baby
Next video game: at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, Jan. 29)
There wasn’t one minute or one play that ended the Bills’ season. Instead, the Bills were beat from start to end up in all 3 stages, completing a season that began with such guarantee — as the Super Bowl favorites — in blowout style.
The group’s very first house playoff loss under coach Sean McDermott put the weak points the Bills have actually been handling all season on complete display screen.
The defense was not able to benefit from a hurt offending line, while the Bills’ offense stopped working to assemble drives regularly, watching out of sync and overwhelmed with regular errors. Quarterback Josh Allen didn’t turn the ball over up until completion of the video game, as has actually been a problem for Buffalo since late, however didn’t appear comfy all video game behind an offending line that has actually had a hard time. Once once again, pass receiver Stefon Diggs was unable to regularly enter into the strategy, completing with 4 receptions on 10 targets.
While the defense was handling injuries, the system had no response for slowing Burrow, and the Bengals fluctuated the field with ease.
On the greatest of phases, a group that has actually set the Super Bowl as the clear objective looked vice versa, practically looking unprepared for the minute.
The Bills now enter into the offseason with a range of concerns to address, consisting of crucial complimentary representative choices to be made on defense, assistance required on the offending line and at pass receiver, and enigma about the group’s technique at protective end.
Troubling pattern: Struggles of the Bills’ protective line. Against an offending line missing out on 2 beginners, the Bills’ protective line had a hard time to manage the line of skirmish. In the very first half, the Bengals got 275 lawns, the most lawns the Bills have actually allowed either half this season, with 90 of those beginning the ground. It was the second-most hurrying lawns the Bengals had prior to the half this season and more than they had in the very first half in any of their previous 4 video games integrated. Burrow was sacked just as soon as and pressured on 7 dropbacks. While the Bills were missing out on beginning protective deal with DaQuan Jones, the failure to produce a pass rush or stop the running video game is worrying for a group the Bills have actually invested a lot in over the previous number of years.
Biggest hole in the strategy: The whole offending strategy. There’s no reason for how a healthy Bills offense carried out versus the Bengals. An early 14-0 deficit didn’t assist, however the Bills were pestered by bad play all over, from the playcalling to the offending line not offering Allen adequate time to stop by pass receivers. The Bills were unable to benefit from Allen’s capability to rush; he was restricted to one pass beyond the pocket on 3 efforts through the very first 3 quarters. The weak point of the Bills’ offending line was on complete display screen, and the system simply kept an eye out of sync. — Alaina Getzenberg
Underrated figure to understand: The Bills are 1-6 (only win: Jan. 9, 2021, versus the Colts) in their playoff history when their challenger does not devote a turnover, which the Bengals did not. The Chiefs did not turn the ball over in in 2015’s divisional playoff match.