NFL News & Analysis

NFL Wild Card Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 26, Las Vegas Raiders 19

Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws for a first down in the first half the AFC wild card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Mandatory Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

An early Las Vegas Raiders turnover helped the Cincinnati Bengals seize control in the first quarter, and Las Vegas’ inability to score touchdowns in the red zone kept the Bengals in control on the way to its 26-19 wild-card playoff victory. Cincinnati won its first playoff game in three decades and moves onto the divisional playoff round.


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Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback

Joe Burrow started hot and stayed in rhythm throughout the wild-card matchup, attacking mismatches and hitting check-downs when it made the most sense. The Raiders' soft coverage gave Burrow the open throwing windows he thrived against all season long.

Dropbacks 36
Yards Per Attempt 7.2
Passer Rating 110.4
Air Yards % 68%
% of Throws Past the Sticks 47%
Running back

Facing off against a Gus Bradley defense meant the Bengals were going to face loaded boxes most of the game. Cincinnati tried its best to get the ball out on the perimeter and away from Maxx Crosby, but Las Vegas did a much better job rallying to and tackling Joe Mixon than in Week 11, forcing the Bengals to win the game through the air.

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Ja’Marr Chase was an unguardable force up the sideline, as he finished with 116 yards from nine receptions. Burrow recorded a 104.1 passer rating and completed three 15-plus-yard passes when targeting Chase.

Offensive line

Isaiah Prince, who was Riley Reiff‘s replacement, was the only Bengals OL who struggled in pass protection against Las Vegas, as he allowed five pressures (one sack) in 36 opportunities. Jonah Williams, Quinton Spain and Trey Hopkins didn't allow a single pressure against the Raiders’ pass rush.

Defensive line

Trey Hendrickson generated a sack early in Saturday’s action, taking advantage an overwhelmed tight end in pass protection. Aside from that, he only registered one more pressure and finished with zero run stops or tackles for loss.

Run Defense Snaps 9
Run Stops 0
Pass Rush Opportunities 24
Pressures 2
Knockdowns (Sacks + Hits) 1
Linebackers

Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt combined for eight total tackles (four each) and a tackle for loss against the Raiders’ rushing attack. Because of Carr’s check-downs, the pair allowed more yardage — 136 yards from 21 targets — than their teammates in the secondary. The receptions they allowed didn’t harm Cincinnati too much, and Pratt ended Saturday’s action with a game-sealing-interception at the goal line.

Secondary

The Raiders didn’t work outside of the seams very often, which helps most of the Bengals defensive backs' stat lines. Eli Apple and Tre Flowers were the only Cincinnati defensive backs who allowed more than 50 yards through the air and six first downs.

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Las Vegas Raiders

Quarterback

Derek Carr turned the ball over on a strip-sack early in Saturday’s action, and his inability to push the ball downfield made Las Vegas’ early deficit feel insurmountable. He was better on third down than he was in these teams' Week 11 matchup, but some key misses forced field goals when touchdowns were needed.

Dropbacks 58
Yards Per Attempt 5.7
Passer Rating 69.2
Air Yards % 61%
% of Throws Past the Sticks 43%
Running back

Josh Jacobs’ work on the ground kept the Raiders afloat in the first half while Carr was still searching for his rhythm. Fifty-one of his rushing yards and two of his three first downs came in the second quarter. 

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow did the heavy lifting underneath for the Raiders, combining for over 130 yards from 22 targets. Fifty-five of those yards came after the catch, and six of their receptions went for first downs.

Offensive line

In the playoffs, dropping back 58 times is a great way to get a quarterback hit often, but Las Vegas’ offensive line stonewalled the Bengals’ front four. The youngest players on the Raiders' offensive line — Kolton Miller and Alex Leatherwood — acquitted themselves well in a playoff environment, as they allowed a combined three pressures — none of which resulted in a QB hit or sack.

Defensive line

The Bengals avoided Crosby on the ground and through the air early in the game. However, once Las Vegas made some adjustments, he racked up five pressures, one sack and five total tackles against the run. Unfortunately, Las Vegas didn't cover well enough to give Crosby the time he needed.

Run Defense Snaps 21
Run Stops 1
Pass Rush Opportunities 29
Pressures 5
Knockdowns (Sacks + Hits) 1
Linebackers

Denzel Perryman led his position group in defensive snaps against the Bengals and was Las Vegas’ most active player at the second level. In 18 snaps against the run, Perryman logged two defensive stops and six tackles. He was targeted five times but yielded only 26 yards — none of which moved the chains.

Secondary

Brandon Facyson drew the short straw and was tasked with guarding Chase before leaving the game with a head injury. Cincinnati attacked Facyson, who allowed receptions on all four targets for 44 yards and four first downs. Desmond Trufant stepped in after Facyson's injury and fared similarly, allowing 68 yards on his four targets.

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