CINCINNATI (AP)Whether it turns around Cincinnati’s season remains to be seen – there are 11 games to go – but the Bengals took a step in the right direction with their come-from-behind 30-26 win at New Orleans on Sunday.
The Bengals completed the rally on Joe Burrow’s short pass to his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who broke a tackle and sped down the left sideline to finish off a 60-yard scoring play that gave the Bengals their first lead with 1:57 remaining.
“Breaking a lot of tackles,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said. “We threw him a back-shoulder fade. He and Joe just do a great job with that type of chemistry. I think he shrugged off the initial one and then kind of outran the coverage on the safety. That’s what he does. He is a special player. He almost got us one earlier in the game on just a quick out. He almost broke one and took it. This time, he finished it off, which was good to see.”
The win coupled with Baltimore’s 24-20 loss to the New York Giants allowed the Bengals to move into a tie for first place in the AFC North.
The passing game. Burrow connected with six different receivers for 28 completions, three touchdowns and 300 yards on 37 throws. With the running game still struggling, gaining only 75 yards on 14 carries, the Bengals relied on short passes that yielded big results – none bigger than Chase’s go-ahead score, which revived memories in Cincinnati of their connection last season, when the Bengals reached the Super Bowl.
“When I saw the look, I knew that I was going there,” Burrow said. “They are a good defense – a really good defense. They made it tough on us all day. We get a play down the stretch to get the win.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The run defense, especially with nose tackle D.J. Reader (knee) on injured reserve. New Orleans finished with 228 yards on the ground.
Chase showed signs of recapturing his 2021 Offensive Rookie of the Year form with seven catches for 132 yards, an average of 18.9 yards per catch.
Trent Taylor appeared to strip himself of the football during a first quarter-return. The ball came loose after he banged it against his shoulder while running. The Saints turned it into a touchdown and 7-0 lead.
Reserve defensive end and special teams contributor Jeff Gunter was carted off the field with a knee injury he suffered during pregame warmups. Nose tackle Josh Tupou (calf) and linebacker Logan Wilson (shoulder) were forced to leave the game.
4 – The number of field goals the Saints were held to by a Cincinnati defense that gave up 399 yards of total offense. New Orleans was 1 for 5 in the red zone, while the Bengals were 3 for 3.
“That’s what our defense has done – keep people out of the end zone and limit scores,” Taylor said. “I know they hit the long one on us, but when teams get down there, they have to earn every inch. The defense takes a lot of pride in their red-zone defense limiting people to field goals and trying to create turnovers.”
The Bengals face their second consecutive NFC South opponent when the Atlanta Falcons (3-3) visit on Sunday.
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