Bengals, back in AFC title game, continue to ‘prove people wrong’

ORchard Park, New York – Anyone with tickets to an AFC Championship game in Atlanta might want their money back.

When the Cincinnati Bengals walked into the tunnel at Highmark Stadium after Sunday’s 27-10 win over the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, several players confirmed that any of the 50,000 people who had pre-sale tickets for a potential game between the Bills and Chiefs should Kansas City seeking refund.

“There was no pressure about that at all, man,” Bengals wide receiver said Ja’Marr Chase He said. “Just proving people wrong, the NFL does things like that for the Bills to go to the Super Bowl. They try to make it look like we’re not ready. So we just came here and proved it. That’s it.”

Cincinnati, the defending champions, is on its way to facing the Chiefs in the conference championship game for the second year in a row. The Bengals secured their spot as one of the last four teams left in the playoffs with their most convincing postseason win in recent years.

Cincinnati led 14-0 early on and maintained control throughout. The start was similar to the Week 17 matchup between the two teams, when the Bengals took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter and drove down the field before a Bills safety Hamelin’s devastation He went into cardiac arrest. The game was eventually canceled, which led to the NFL creating a possible neutral site game with Kansas City and Buffalo if both teams advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

But that first meeting gave Cincinnati confidence that it could thwart the league’s contingency plans.

“We knew what we could do,” Chase said. “I mean, look at the first game. We knew what we were capable of jumping off. We were just excited to play these guys.”

The Bengals held the Bills to a season-low 10 points. It was the second-fewest points allowed to Cincinnati in franchise postseason history.

Buffalo quarterback Josh Allenwho briefly came off a drive after an injury but didn’t leave the game, was 25 of 42 passing for 265 yards, no touchdowns and an interception on the Bills’ final drive of the game.

“I don’t think you ever look at the scoreboard and see the Bills score 10 points, even in the first half,” Bengals safety Jesse Bates III He said. “This is what we do.”

Cincinnati was also boosted with another strong offensive start. Dating back to Week 16 of the regular season, the Bengals have outscored their opponents a total of 39-0 going into the first quarter.

Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow She played a major role in that. He completed his first nine passes and finished the day by going 23 of 36 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. He also broke Ken Anderson’s franchise record for most career postseason runs (1,321).

Bengals ran back Joe Mixon He totaled 20 carries for 105 yards, marking his highest total yards in any of the team’s six post-season games over the past two seasons.

Burrow and Mixon’s numbers were indicative of how well the Bengals thought they played Sunday despite Cincinnati having three reserves starting on their offensive line.

“It was just one of their best games this year, rushing [and] Of the unit’s performance, Borough said, “It might be our most complete game of the season as a team.”

The Bengals quarterback said the team did not use pre-sale tickets for the potential Kansas City-Buffalo game as an incentive. But Burrow, referring to his post-game television interview, told CBS that the league “better send these refunds.”

The Bengals’ 17 points surpassed Cincinnati’s combined winning margin — 13 — in three postseason wins in 2021.

Last season, the Bengals went on the road in the divisional round and knocked out the top seeded Tennessee Titans. Bates, who said Sunday’s win was the biggest win of the past two seasons because it was the most recent, noted the similarities between then and now.

“We go to Tennessee and rock them,” Bates told ESPN. “We come here [to Buffalo] We screamed their butts here.”

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