NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 14 Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 23

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) dives to break the plane on for the game-winning touchdown in overtime of the NFL Week 14 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Francisco 49ers at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. The Bengals tied the game in the fourth quarter, but eventually fell to the 49ers in overtime, 26-23. San Francisco 49ers At Cincinnati Bengals

Trailing by 7 with under three minutes remaining, Joe Burrow led the Cincinnati Bengals offense to a 95-yard drive in under two minutes and connected with Ja’Marr Chase for a game-tying touchdown to send the game to overtime.

The Bengals took the lead in overtime with a field goal, but Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers back down the field and connected with Brandon Aiyuk for a 12-yard touchdown to give the San Francisco 49ers a 26-23 road victory.

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San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo earned a 61.0 passing grade, but the 49ers quarterback made some impressive throws late in the game. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Garroppolo threw for 159 yards and a touchdown while also making three big-time throws. During the same period, his average depth of target was over 8.0 yards downfield while also completing five of his seven attempts beyond 10 yards.

Jimmy Garoppolo | 4th Quarter/Overtime
Dropbacks Completion % Yards YPA Passer Rating
23 68.4% 159 8.4 111.5
Running Backs

Jeff Wilson Jr. got the starting nod at running back and ran for 56 yards on 13 attempts with over 66% of his production coming after contact. He didn’t force any missed tackles, and only three attempts moved the chains. 

Deebo Samuel ran the ball eight times for 37 yards, but 27 came on a single touchdown run. Still, Samuel was able to break two tackles and rush for two first downs.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

George Kittle replicated his success from last week, catching 13 of his 15 targets for 151 yards and a touchdown. Down the stretch, Garoppolo mostly relied on Kittle in the passing game with over half his yards coming in the fourth quarter or overtime. Four of his receptions went for over 15 yards, as he earned an 89.7 receiving grade, upon first review.

Brandon Aiyuk was targeted a season-high 11 times and scored the game-winning touchdown to cap off a six-reception, 62-yard performance. Samuel made plays on the ground but managed only one target that went for 22 yards.

Player Targets YPR Explosive plays YPRR
George Kittle 15 11.6 4 3.60
Brandon Aiyuk 11 10.3 2 1.38
Deebo Samuel 1 22.0 1 0.58
Jauan Jennings 5 15.3 1 1.35
Offensive Line

After a promising start, the offensive line fizzled out as the game progressed and the unit combined to allow 16 pressures and three sacks. Four separate offensive linemen gave up multiple pressures, led by Daniel Brunskill with six. 

Trent Williams was his usual, dominant self, allowing just one pressure and earning more positively graded run blocks than negative ones. He finished with a 90.2 run-blocking grade and an 89.4 offensive grade, upon first review.

Defensive Line

The Bengals had no answer for star edge rusher Nick Bosa, who produced one of his most efficient pass-rushing performances of the season. On 33 pass-rush snaps, he generated two sacks, 10 pressures, beat his defender four times and won 42.9% of his reps. He finished the game with a season-high 90.8 pass-rush grade.

Player Pass-Rush Snaps Sacks Pressures Win Rate
Nick Bosa 33 2.0 10 42.9%
Arik Armstead 33 0.0 6 17.6%
Samson Ebukam 21 0.5 5 22.7%
Arden Key 20 0.5 3 15.0%
Linebackers

Azeez Al-Shaair and Fred Warner played a big role in their dominance against the run, with both linebackers receiving 80.0-plus run defense grades. Al-Shaair created five defensive stops and two tackles for loss or no gain.

It was a different story in coverage, however, as the linebackers combined to concede 10 receptions for 128 yards and six first downs.

Secondary

The 49ers secondary held up for the first three quarters but started to surrender big plays down the field late in the game. Ambry Thomas gave up most of the production through the air, allowing three receptions for 81 yards and a score, with all three receptions gaining over 15 yards. 

Talanoa Hufanga gave up the other touchdown, but as a unit the secondary gave up 10 receptions for 163 yards.

Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback

Joe Burrow hit his stride toward the end of the game and nearly put together an impressive comeback performance. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Burrow completed 11-of-15 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and four big-time throws without a turnover-worthy play. In the same stretch, Burrow completed six of his seven passes beyond 10 yards, with 10 overall in the game.

Overall, Burrow earned an 83.2 passing grade after throwing for 348 yards and a 125.6 passer rating while averaging 10.2 yards per attempt.

Joe Burrow | 4th Quarter/Overtime
Dropbacks Completion % Yards YPA Passer Rating BTT%
18 73.3% 210 14.0 154.9 26.7%
Running Backs

Despite trailing by double digits for most of the second half, the Bengals stayed committed to the run with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Mixon wasn’t able to replicate his success of the past few weeks, as he ran for 58 yards on 18 carries. Only three attempts went for a first down and he accounted for the only explosive run among Bengals running backs.

Perine scampered for 11 yards on four rushing attempts but also caught four passes for 22 yards. He broke one tackle in the game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The Burrow-Ja’Marr Chase connection was in full swing against the 49ers, connecting five times for 77 yards and two touchdowns. All five receptions went for a first down and both touchdowns were deemed explosive receptions.

Tee Higgins found similar success, hauling in five receptions for a team-high 114 yards. All receivers combined for 10 explosive receptions and 16 first downs on 19 receptions.

Player Routes Run Targets YPR YPRR Drops
Ja’Marr Chase 39 8 15.4 1.97 1
Tyler Boyd 36 4 13.8 1.53 0
C.J. Uzomah 34 6 14.0 1.65 1
Tee Higgins 33 7 22.8 3.45 1
Offensive Line

The Bengals offensive line quickly became overwhelmed by the explosive 49ers pass-rush, as the unit combined to allow 26 pressures on 40 total dropbacks. Five of the six offensive lineman gave up at least four pressures each, with Quinton Spain and Isaiah Prince giving up two sacks each. Jonah Williams was the only member to grade above 70.0 in pass protection.

Player Pass-Blocking Snaps Sacks Allowed Pressures Allowed Pressure Rate
Hakeem Adeniji 40 0 9 22.5%
Jonah Williams 40 0 4 10.0%
Quinton Spain 40 2 5 12.5%
Trey Hopkins 40 0 4 10.0%
Riley Reiff 22 0 0 0.0%
Isaiah Prince 18 2 4 22.2%
Defensive Line

Trey Hendrickson made the most of his snaps before leaving the game with a back injury. He registered three pressures and one sack in just 10 pass-rush snaps.

Despite losing Hendrickson, the Bengals pass-rush didn’t drop in production, as the rest of the unit combined for three sacks and 18 pressures. All three sacks came from different pass-rushers. Sam Hubbard paced led the team in pressures (seven) and win rate (15.0%).

Linebackers

Germaine Pratt and Joe Bachie both earned sub-50.0 defensive grades against the run and in coverage, upon first review. The duo combined for 12 tackles and five defensive stops, but each linebacker missed multiple tackles in the process. Pratt also conceded seven receptions for 89 yards and five first downs.

Secondary

Chidobe Awuzie had a roller coaster of a performance against the 49ers. The good part was he forced two incompletions, two defensive stops and a tackle for loss or no gain. The bad: He allowed four receptions on seven targets for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Jessie Bates III hasn’t had the best contract year, but against the 49ers he tied his highest overall grade of the year (82.4), upon first review. In coverage, Bates gave up five receptions for 32 yards and one first down while also generating two defensive stops.

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