Sunday Divisional Liveblog: Bengals, Bills Meet Again

Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase and Friends
Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase and Friends
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Divisional - It took 19 and a half weeks, but we've finally cut the chaff from the 2022 NFL season.  The final six teams standing are the top six teams in DVOA -- all killer, no filler. With all respect to the Jaguars and Giants, the NFL season has been whittled down to the best of the best. That doesn't always happen! Gate-crashers happen all the time! It's somewhat refreshing that just the best of the best is here.

That being said, we can't have six teams going to the conference championships; that's not how numbers work. We've got two more games to go today to get us to the final four -- and, on paper at least, they should be more competitive than the games on Saturday.  No more #1 seeds taking on underdogs; we have four of the top Super Bowl contenders facing off today with trips to the conference championships on the line.

We won't lie; there's going to be a weird atmosphere when the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals lock up just three weeks after Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field; there's no getting through it without being reminded of what happened that Monday night.  Losing a matchup of this caliber was well down the list of things to be worried about, but it is nice that we do get to see two of the top three teams in the conference decide things on the field. As to what field that should actually be on? Well, we'll get to that in a moment.  There aren't nearly as many weird feelings about seeing the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys lock up for a record-tying ninth playoff game, a matchup that has been so hotly anticipated that...oops, looks like the clock ran out on this one. We'll get back to that soon enough, too.

And we'll be covering today's matchups live in a special playoff edition of the Football Outsiders liveblog! Because we're live, you can participate in the discussion as well! Join in on the conversation -- either in the comment section in this article, on Twitter by tagging @FBOutsiders or @BryKno, or on our brand new Discord server, where some of your favorite writers will be hanging out and reacting live.

Here we go!

Early Game Preview: Bengals at Bills

The Bengals have one legitimate grievance and one illegitimate grievance as they travel to Buffalo as the road team in this game.

The NFL covered contingencies for a Chiefs-Bills AFC Championship, and they covered contingencies for a Bengals-Ravens wild card game. They did not, however, give the Bengals any contingencies for this matchup, and it's location did indeed depend on the outcome of the cancelled Bengals-Bills game. Had the Bengals won that game, they would have been the two seed, not the Bills. This game would be in Cincinnati, not in Buffalo. And the NFL just shrugged their shoulders and are letting this play as it lies. It'd be one thing if they had done that for everyone, but the fact that the NFL bent the rules for two circumstances but not three is a little awkward, at best. The Bengals are being penalized for doing the right thing and not forcing Buffalo to either play or concede the Week 17 matchup. Not heavily penalized, mind you; home field advantage isn't what it used to be. But they can at least claim a little bit of righteous umbrage over having to go to New York.

They can not cry foul at the NFL already preselling tickets in Atlanta for the Bills-Chiefs game, no matter what Joe Mixon thinks. They were pre-selling tickets for Arrowhead for Chiefs-Bengals, and tickets in Cincinnati for Bengals-Jaguars. That's just a logistics thing.

In our stats preview, Cale Clinton asks the $64,000 question -- will Josh Allen avoid mistakes against Cincinnati? As he points out, Allen is one of the best quarterbacks in all of football...but also one that is prone to the occasional hair-tearingly awkward mistake; clutch interceptions in the red zone that kill the Bills.  Allen is simultaneously the biggest reason why Buffalo can win...and the biggest reason Buffalo can lose. Either way, be prepared for offensive fireworks.  But public opinion seems to be swinging towards the Bills, with the line falling to Buffalo -6 before gametime.

Late Game Preview: Cowboys at 49ers

Well, that's more like it!  The Cowboys we saw against the Buccaneers was the team we were expecting to see; the one that can battle head-to-head with any other team in the league and is a real Super Bowl threat. We just haven't seen that team on a week-to-week basis, as flat outings against the Packers, Giants, Texans, Jaguars and Commanders over the back half of the season had Dallas fans worrying about their chances against the top teams in the league. But against Tampa, Dallas controlled the game from start to finish. Dak Prescott looked nearly untouchable, avoiding the interceptions that have been a millstone around his neck since he returned from injury, and led Dallas to the fourth-best passing day of the entire season by DVOA. They looked like they could beat anyone.

To move on, though, they have to beat the team that had the third-best passing day of the entire season by DVOA last week, as Brock Purdy and the 49ers turned a close game at halftime into a blow out win over the Seahawks. Say what you want about Purdy's results versus his quality of play; the 49ers have hardly missed a beat despite being down to their third quarterback of the season. San Francisco is riding an 11-game win streak and have looked more-or-less unstoppable over the back half of the season.

If the Cowboys play to their potential, they can absolutely win this game, even as four-point underdogs. As our stat preview points out, Dallas is equipped to attack both the 49ers' weakness covering deep passes and Purdy's penchant for scrambling away from pressure. We'll have to see if that Dallas team is the one that actually shows up this afternoon, or if San Francisco will make it a dozen straight wins and punch their ticket to Philadelphia.

1:06 PM: Patrick Mahomes Update

I know, I know; the Chiefs aren't playing today. But when the presumptive MVP gets injured the week before the AFC Championship game, we talk about it!

Patrick Mahomes had an MRI today, which confirmed that he suffered a high ankle sprain against the Jaguars.  "Nothing more than that," is how the source confirmed that, but also, not less than that.

The average player takes four weeks to return from a high ankle sprain, though the average player does not suffer one during the playoffs. I imagine he'll be out there next Sunday no matter what; that's Mahomes' plan, at the very least. We'll just have a full week of questions about how effective he can be and to what extent he'll be limited. As if the playoffs didn't have enough twists and turns already, right?

1:34 PM: Bills-Bengals Inactives

We already knew the Bengals were going to be down multiple offensive linemen. The playing field has levelled a little bit, however, as the Bills will be out one of their key interior linemen.

DaQuon Jones has been fighting a calf injury, and has been limited at practice all week long. It ended up being too much for him; he's inactive and we'll likely see more Jordan Phillips today to make up for him. Phillips, however, was also questionable and limited with a shoulder injury, and while he's up, he may not be operating at 100%.  Everyone else who was limited at some point this week, including Dane Jackson and Jordan Poyer, is up, but Jones is a notable loss.

As for the Bengals, Alex Cappa and Jonah Williams had both already been ruled out, so it's three backup linemen in today for Cincinnati.  Tre Flowers had been doubtful with a hamstring injury; he's out, too -- that leaves Dax Hill as first in line to cover tight ends for Cincinnati.

2:08 PM: Yeah, We Knew This Was Coming

There are reports that Damar Hamlin is in the locker room in Buffalo with his teammates at the moment. There's been no reports of him showing up before the game, but I'm fully expecting him to get announced and get a huge ovation. So that should be a moment.

2:30 PM: Snow Game!

For the second time this weekend, we have a snow game alert!

Man, I hope the rumors that the NFL are looking into hosting conference title games at neutral sites from here on out are just rumors, because weather games can be great.

3:07 PM: Bengals Strike First

Oh, that was too easy.

The Bengals take the opening kickoff and march right down the field -- six plays, with four of them going for first downs.  Not facing a third down is a pretty good way to keep a drive going! 

Joe Burrow has already made a couple big plays; stepping up to avoid the rush and find open receivers. And we're talking pretty darn wide open, too.  Burrow hit Ja'Marr Chase with a jump pass for the score.

7-0 Cincinnati, very early.

3:23 PM: Nerves in Buffalo

The Bills' response drive is a three-and-out. There's some chatter in the Discord about whether or not the Bills should have gone for it; it was a 2.3% win probability error to punt, because it's possible the Bengals could just march right back downfield and score.

And the Bengals marched right back downfield and scored. The Bills did manage to force a third down -- little victories, guys -- but for the third time in three complete drives this season, the Bengals just marched right down through Buffalo territory, hitting some wide open receivers along the way.  Burrow gets the safety to jump off of Hayden Hurst, and Hurst ends up wide open for the score.

14-0.  Still early, but Buffalo needs to wake up.

3:36 PM: An Actual Stop!

Buffalo went three-and-out and punted from their own 30.  Again.  If Cincinnati countered that with a third score, this game may have gotten out of reach early. Bills gave up less than 20 first downs per game this season. Never more than 27 (Cleveland). Bengals had 10 in the first quarter.

But hey, Buffalo finally managed to stop the Bengals offense! 

That's one.  Now, they need to see if they can pass their own 30 yard line.

3:50 PM: And The Battle is Joined

Buffalo finds the end zone, and we finally have a football game in Buffalo.

The Bills playcalling has been a bit odd; a lot more carries for Cook and Singletary than I would have thought at this point.  It's not exceptionally ineffective or anything, but it is setting up quite a few third downs that Buffalo; they're making things more difficult for themselves than perhaps they have to.  But Allen's rushing bails them out here -- the sneak for a fourth down conversion, a run for the touchdown, a powerful draw dragging defenders to the one, etcetera. It's a gear Cincinnati does not have, so it will be interesting to see how much that matters in the end.

4:07 PM: Instant Replay to the Rescue?

The Bills' defense is having a terrible, terrible game.  They're letting Hayden Hurst run wild, despite being the #1 defense against tight ends this year.  They're getting almost no pass rush; the loss of Daquan Jones (not to mention Von Miller) is having a major impact on this game. And Ja'Marr Chase is, of course, doing Ja'Marr Chase things.

One of those things was apparently a touchdown, but under review, they said that he lost possession and couldn't reestablish himself in bounds before re-catching it.  What do you think?

It forces Cinci to a field goal, and a 17-7 lead.

4:19 PM: Another Punt?

For the third time today, Buffalo has punted.  And for the third time today, our model disagrees.

None of them have been entirely indefensible decisions or anything, but they've all hovered around 2% win probability losses.  The Bills are bleeding away advantages here, giving the ball back to Cincinnati over and over without putting up much of a fight.  These sorts of things add up!

4:26 PM: Halftime

The Bills hold the Bengals out of the end zone going to halftime thanks in part to a clutch tackle -- out of time outs, Burrow got a bunch of yards on a scramble, and decided to get greedy to gain some extra yards. He got tackled in-bounds, draining seconds off the clock, and forcing Cincinnati to go for one Hail Mary rather than getting another play or two in.  That falls incomplete, and so the Bengals go into half 17-7.

Buffalo has been beaten along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball; not what I was expecting with so many linemen out for Cincinnati. They get the ball to start the second half, so this is far, far from over, but Cincinnati looks like the better team, and not by an insignificant margin.

Vince Verhei: Considering the weather, the opposition, and the stakes, that was probably the best 30 minutes of offensive football I've seen a team play all season. 18 first downs in a half, in 41 snaps, against Buffalo, is nuts. And the Bengals have only even gotten to third downs five times (three conversions). Several teams didn't get to 18 first downs against Buffalo in 60 minutes. The Dolphins, to name one, only had 15 first downs in their win over the Bills in Week 3. Running, passing, all working, almost no negative plays. A masterclass by Cincinnati players and coaches.

4:37 PM: Halftime Stats

This is also only the third time all year the Bills have scored seven or fewer points in the first half. They've got to find another gear, and soon.

4:53 PM: Buffalo Gets Going, But Stalls Out

Good Josh Allen has arrived in the second half, making big plays with both his arms and legs as he moved the ball down the field.

But the Bills stall out in the red zone and choose to kick again, adding a field goal to their score.  That's yet another 2% win probability error by our numbers, as the Bills continue to send value back to the Bengals by kicking over and over and over.  Again, none of these kick decisions are indefensible in a vacuum, but they're really adding up.

5:12 PM: Cincinnati Trying to Slam the Door

Buffalo's defense seems to have no answer for the Cincinnati offense.  The Bengals have 25 first downs; the most Buffalo's given up in a game this year is 27.  They're just moving the ball almost at will.

Mixon scores a touchdown after an extensive review, and Cincinnati is sitting on a 24-10 lead with 16 minutes to go.  It's not over, but the Bills need a response drive, and they need it right now.

5:17 PM: WHY ARE YOU PUNTING

The Bills face a 4th-and-2 from their own 20, down 14 with 15:11 left in the game...and they punt.

What?

It's two yards.  You're down 14 points, and your defense is getting gashed. You have Josh Allen.  Why are you punting?!

Our numbers say that this was a 2.5% error, which is bad in any circumstances.  But the Bills have single-digit win percentage right now; they basically cut their odds by a third by giving the ball up there. This punt is indefensible. Just absolutely a disaster.  And it was preceded by a bomb, which makes sense if you were going for it on 4th-and-2, but not if the punt was an option! This is coaching malpractice, and the game will be over if Cincinnati scores again.

5:31 PM: Three-Score Game

The punt turns into Cincinnati points, though I suppose at least the Bengals didn't score a touchdown. A 27-yard pass interference play got the Bengals into the red zone, and knocked out two Buffalo defenders to boot.  Cincinnati ended up settling for a 20-yard field goal, which is usually not endorsed by the model, but going from a two-score game to a three-score game with 10 minutes left may well be the knockout blow.

5:43 PM: Ballgame

Buffalo moves the ball a little bit...

...But ends up turning the ball over on downs.  With just 7:23 left and down three scores, that will likely end the competitive portion of this one.  And if it does, that means none of the NFL's contingency plans for the Hamlin cancellation will actually end up happening.  Cincinnati doing the league office some favors, here.

5:58 PM: Warming Up the Leg

Brett Maher has been shaky in pregame warmups.  He's missed multiple kicks from under 50 yards, going in both directions. That's probably not something to be concerned about, right?

6:48 PM: Defenses Start Out Strong

We're two drives into the 49ers-Cowboys game now, and a pair of punts.  Both pass rushes have made themselves felt -- Brock Purdy took a sack on second down which ended up forcing a punt a few plays later, while Nick Bosa had to be wrestled to the ground by Tyler Smith to avoid recording a sack early.

Still 0-0, as we're in the initial feeling out period here.

6:56 PM: More Defense

The 49ers flip the field position a little after a George Kittle catch and run, but waste it on a punt from their own 38!

Our model had the win probability of going for it at 66.7%.  A field goal was 66.1%.  The punt was 65.2%; the worst of the three options if not by a ton.  And since the ball went into the end zone, it is an 18-yard punt.  That's somewhat less than ideal.

7:01 PM: More Defense!

I said before the game that if Dak Prescott played clean, then the Cowboys would win.

Deommodore Lenoir would like you to know that Prescott has not played clean.

No idea why that ball was thrown.  Terrible decision, and the 49ers are in business.

7:07: A Pattern of Consistency

Well, I can't say more defense again, can I?

The 49ers convert a long third-and-15 to keep a drive alive...

...But, as so often has been the case, they stall out in the red zone. 4th-and-8 is a tough ask, so the field goal's the right call here, but it has to go down as a missed opportunity.  3-0, San Francisco.

7:22 PM: Cowboys Reach the End Zone First

An exceptional response to the interception -- no worrying about it, no second-guessing themselves, just marching right back down the field.  14 plays, 74 yards, including a 4th-down conversion inside the red zone.  It's Dak to Dalton Schultz in the red zone, and the Cowboys take the lead!

...But it's only 6-3, because somehow, unbelievably, Brett Maher fails AGAIN.  This time, the extra point is blocked.  This is insane.

7:37 PM: Cowboys Bend, But Don't Break

The Cowboys are consistently getting pressure with four, and it's slowing the 49ers down significantly.  They're still hitting a few big plays here or there, but there's a lot of times when Purdy just doesn't have anywhere to go with the ball, either taking a sack or throwing it away.

The 49ers move the ball back into Cowboys territory, but find themselves facing a 4th & 2 from the Dallas 29.  Again, our model likes the 49ers to go for this, but that's not Kyle Shanahan's way.  The 49ers kick a field goal, and we're tied up at 6 with 3:43 to go.

The Cowboys get the ball after half, so they have a chance to score on both side of the break now...

7:53 PM: Oh, Dak.

The Cowboys are driving, including a big fourth down conversion (don't expect to see much more kicking with Maher deeply into his own head).  But the game grinds to a halt as Tony Pollard apparently injures his ankle, and has to be helped off the field.  And the very next play...

That is a huge play.  Dallas was threatening to score on both sides of halftime.  Now, the 49ers have the chance to take the lead...

8:02 PM: Shanahan Clock Management Strikes Again

The 49ers got the ball with 1:15 left and two time-outs.  Time to trust your rookie quarterback to march you down the field?  No!  You run a couple plays before picking up a first down, draining half the clock, and then you start going for it! 

Kyle Shanahan was playing for the field goal as time expired, and he nailed it.  Not sure why he was playing for that, mind you!  But play for it he did.  The 49ers take a 9-6 lead going into the half.

This has been more of a good defense game than a bad offense game, as both teams are struggling to solve Dan Quinn and DeMeco Ryan's defenses.  The 49ers are outgaining Dallas through the air; Dallas is outgaining the 49ers on the ground.  Not exactly what we were expecting!

Very intense game.  Should be a good second half.

8:21 PM: A Special Teams Break for Dallas

The Cowboys are forced to punt on their first drive of the second half, but for once, a special teams break goes their way.  Ray-Ray McCloud, who had fumble issues in Pittsburgh last year, ends up putting this one on the ground, and Dallas scoops it up!  A huge break, and a big swing!

The 49ers stiffen up again, and they...send out Brett Maher?!  This should have been a go even without the kicker issues...but Maher makes it!  We're knotted at 9.

8:40 PM: The One Obligatory San Francisco Deep Ball

The 49ers can be attacked deep when you have enough time -- and finally, Dallas hits one!

But that ends up going nowhere, as the Cowboys punt from the wrong side of the 50 again.  Neitehr team wants to risk anything against these defenses.

8:57 PM: We Would Like to Welcome the San Francisco 49ers Offense to the Football Game

10 plays, 91 yards, and a touchdown.  This is kind of thing we were expecting to see from the 49ers all day long; it took us two and a half quarters, but we're here.

George Kittle had the catch of the round, for sure.

This really has been National Tight Ends Round, and Kittle is the captain thereof.  The 49ers then bog down in the red zone a bit, but the Cowboys hold a couple times to bail the 49ers out.  And, as a result, they finally find the end zone, with CMC plunging in from two yards out.  It's a 16-9 49ers lead with 14:30 left...

9:04 PM: "Do the Cowboys Have Just One Wide Receiver?"

So asked the Discord, and the answer is...well, yes.  CeeDee Lamb has 10 catches for 117 yards; the rest of the team has 10 catches for 63 yards.  They could really use an Amari Cooper or something.

Passes to Lamb, and a great punt return by KaVontae Turpin, moves the Cowboys into field goal range where they...kick?  Believe it or not, our model agrees; you're going to need a stop on San Francisco anyway, and this way, a) you shave the chance to win if you stop the 49ers entirely, and b) can still tie after a field goal.  But that means it's still a 16-12 49ers lead...

9:20 PM: Cowboys Still Alive

The 49ers' ideal drive here would have taken all 11:03 off the clock.  That didn't happen, though they did grind a ton of clock -- we're now down to 3:04 left, and the lead is back up to seven.

Yes, the 49ers opted to kick a field goal from inside the 20.  The right call?  Our model agrees; it had the field goal as a +2.6% decision.  Now, it's very unlikely you lose in regulation at the very least.  And hey, if Maher continues to be shaky...

9:35 PM: Cowboys STILL Alive?!

The Cowboys opted to punt the ball at essentially the two minute warning, which seems like a big mistake.  But they'll get another shot -- the 49ers did pick up a first down, but Elijah Mitchell ended up going out of bounds, saving some clock.  It'd take a miracle, but Dallas does get the ball back...

9:44 PM: Cowboys, uh, No Longer Alive

So, the last Cowboys drive was a...well, I'm not sure the professional way to describe it.  It wasn't, uh, wasn't good.

It included Dalton Schultz running out of bounds before completing a catch, which then apparently then necessitated the use of...uh, this.

I wish I could tell you WHAT that was, but it apparently was very important.  It didn't, uh. Didn't work.  49ers win, and advance to the NFC Championship.

Where we will see you on Sunday!

Comments

192 comments, Last at 23 Jan 2023, 9:14am

#1 by mehnsrea // Jan 22, 2023 - 9:32am

Bengals & Cowboys win outright. No neutral site next week. And Eagles-Cowboys is a good as it gets. The inevitable Reid vs. Eagles matchup awaits.

Points: 2

#3 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 22, 2023 - 10:23am

Bengals-49ers III is still on the table.

Although after last year it’s basically Hotel California.

Points: 1

#5 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 12:55pm

Going into this weekend, the match up most Chiefs fans wanted was Cincinnati, and not just due to location.

There's a sense that even though they're built to be a unique challenge for us, we can beat the Bengals. We just....don't. 

Sooner than later, that'll change, and the AFCCG would be a sweet place to do it.

Of course, that all predicates a healthy Patrick Mahomes. This morning, I'm not sure who most of us would rather see, given that "can we just play JAX again?" isn't a viable option. 

Points: 1

#2 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 22, 2023 - 9:56am

Had the Bills won their Week 17 contest against the Bengals, they would be taking today off to watch KC-Cincinnati, since they would have disposed of an overmatched Jaguars team yesterday. The Bills lost more than anyone from that game’s cancellation, and the NFL handled it consistently: teams that played the same number of games were treated the same. 

Points: -6

#4 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 22, 2023 - 11:43am

 The Bills lost more than anyone from that game’s cancellation

That's just not true. The Bengals had a 4 point lead and were in your territory (aka likely to win) but then they were eliminated from the 1 seed from a no contest. There's a reason Bengals complained but Bills didnt. 

Points: 6

#7 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:05pm

Yeah, you’re right: a Cincinnati team that basically didn’t show up for the entire first half against Tampa, didn’t show up for the entire second half against New England, and needed a miracle play to beat Tyler Huntley at home … that team was a lock to beat a Bills team that has given up early touchdowns to a lot of teams this year before locking them out. A lock! Got it. 

Points: -2

#19 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 22, 2023 - 2:28pm

Double reply rage posting (instead of editing) on "likely to win" despite never saying "lock" and their win probability was literally 63.5% at the point of stoppage. 

Points: 4

#135 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:12pm

And that's why getting a TD first, and driving into opponent with a multi point lead, maaaaay have lead a team "likely to win" 

And the Bengals did it on the road this time! Yeah, I think there was healthy chance they would've pulled it off on that MNF

Points: 4

#8 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:09pm

Yeah, there’s a reason they complained about it: they run their mouths. Like, a lot. Case in point: Joe Mixon blathering about the NFL selling tickets to a potential Chiefs-Bills game as “disrespect.”

Points: 0

#12 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:38pm

That's just not true. The Bengals had a 4 point lead and were in your territory (aka likely to win)

At the time the game stopped, the Bills and Bengals had run 19 combined plays. 19 plays don't really establish anything. 

but then they were eliminated from the 1 seed from a no contest

They were eliminated from the 1 seed when Kansas City beat Vegas, same as we were. 

Points: 3

#13 by Bryan Knowles // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:46pm

With the way things broke in Week 18:
 

If the Bengals had won, it would have been Chiefs #1, Bengals #2, Bills #3
If the Bills had won, it would have been Bills #1, Chiefs #2, Bengals #3

Points: 2

#15 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:52pm

They were eliminated from the 1 seed when Kansas City beat Vegas, same as we were. 

Exactly.

Everybody seems to forget a very basic point with seeding: any particular playoff seeding doesn't actually exist until all the games have been played (or all but 1 team have been mathematically eliminated from a particular seed), week 1 losses count the same as week 17 losses (after accounting for divisoon and conference), and there's no primacy of ownership given to the most recent team to have the lead for it.

It's easy to see why...sites and broadcasts start posting "if the season ended today" graphics as early as late October. It's easy to think of the 1 seed as a trophy that gets awarded to the first team to take a lead that then gets passed back and forth as one team or another takes the lead.

But it's not. Buffalo didn't have the 1 seed going into that Cincinnati game, because the 1 seed didn't exist yet...not all games had been played, and other competing teams hadn't been eliminated yet. Nothing got "taken away from them" yet, because the thing didn't actually exist.

They were in a position of having a mathematical lead toward earning it, and they were the most recent team to hold that distinction. But neither of those things are meaningful when it actually got awarded....it got awarded to the team with the best winning percentage once all games had been played. As designed.

I understand why it feels like it "got taken away" to Buffalo fans (or those sympathetic to them). But this is a case where the way it feels isn't the way things actually are.

Points: 5

#20 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 22, 2023 - 2:30pm

At the time the game stopped, the Bills and Bengals had run 19 combined plays. 19 plays don't really establish anything. 

See above.

They were eliminated from the 1 seed when Kansas City beat Vegas, same as we were. 

Because it was a no contest. 

There's really not any argument Buffalo was more screwed than Cincy. 

Points: 2

#43 by Run dmc // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:14pm

Cincy did get screwed but not for the #1 Seed ... they never had a shot at the #1 Seed if KC beat the Raiders which they did. They got screwed by not having a chance to win the #2 Seed ... a coin should have been flipped for that based on the NFL logic regarding the AFC North race.

Points: 3

#63 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:46pm

Before that. They didn't have a shot because there was no contest. If they had played and won (oh and lookie there, having a multi point lead driving in enemy territory is a good signal for winning) they, yes, could've gotten the 1 seed if LV won. But a no contest halved their chance for the 2 seed. 

Even if LV beat KC there was 0 way Bengals could've gotten the 1 seed with a no contest (or loss, which wasn't in their favor at the time of the injury)

Points: 0

#6 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:01pm

The Bills lost more than anyone from that game’s cancellation, and the NFL handled it consistently: teams that played the same number of games were treated the same. 

Only if you look at gross loss rather than net benefit.

What they lost has to be balanced by what they gained: that is, removing the requirement to play one of the most dangerous teams on their schedule, one they were required to play by virtue of having won their division in 2021, and the consequences of potentially losing that game.

You noted what they lost had they beaten Cincinnati. Here's what they gained by not losing to them:

No having to travel to Cincinnati today after having watched KC beat Jacksonville yesterday anyway.

When looking at net losses and gains, it's really tough to say Buffalo came off worst.

Points: 4

#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 22, 2023 - 2:01pm

You struck and nearly killed an opposing player, and are now complaining you were not allowed to disproportionately benefit from it.

Points: -15

#21 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:00pm

That's just disingenuous. Damar Hamlin suffered a freak accident while attempting to tackle the Cincinnati ball carrier. The best possible outcome was achieved: Damar Hamlin survived and the game was rightfully canceled put of respect for the players.

The NFL should have moved forward with the rules already in place, determining division winners, playoff seeds, and hone field advantage by win %; this would have disadvantaged Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Baltimore equally while also providing all of them with the opportunity to rest starters and avoid injuries in the final week of the season. Instead, the NFL rushed through a vote to change the rules in such a way that would never be approved if it disadvantaged one of the league's premier, major media market teams the way it disadvantaged Cincinnati.

Bengals fans have reason to be cranky about the rule change. Bill fans, too. But we all have reason to be thankful that we get to argue about this dumb rule change instead of reflecting on a game that cost a player his life.

What's in the past is in the past. Let's play the game and watch the better team win. WHO DEY!

Points: 9

#29 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:23pm

I did not. Neither did my team. Both were on the couch watching.

C'mon man...everybody always assumes my positions based on username, let it work FOR me for a change 😀

Points: 2

#37 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:46pm

There's room for one more on the Bengals bandwagon! Hop on board...

Points: 1

#48 by Run dmc // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:23pm

Consistency would mean applying the rules as written at the beginning of the year. Making up two sets of rules based on how many games you have played 94% of the way through the season isn't my definition of consistency

Points: 6

#56 by MHaddad9 // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:38pm

You realize they were going to lose that game, right? From what I saw than and today, Cincy is the better team.

Points: 1

#57 by MHaddad9 // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:39pm

You realize they were going to lose that game, right? From what I saw than and today, Cincy is the better team.

Points: 1

#9 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:10pm

Whatever happens in Bills/Bengals a Cincinnati fan has to like the regular season progression under its coach

2-14        31st (DVOA)

4-11-1     30th

10-7        17th

12-4         5th

 

 

Points: 11

#10 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:17pm

They should like it.

The beginning of the season, there was a lot of noise about Taylor needing fired.

I get it...fans gonna fan...but it's hard to argue much with the results.

Points: 1

#17 by NYChem // Jan 22, 2023 - 2:07pm

Taylor has the millstone (joking) of Burrow around his neck. When a coach improves with a great QB, its always a question of how good he is versus how lucky he is. See Belichek and Tomlin for reference. But also see EVERY Chargers coach since the beginning of Dan Fouts as the counter reference.

I don't see Taylor as being an excellent coach, as a Steelers fan I am hoping for evidence he is more Marvin Lewis than Sean Payton, but until proven otherwise, the win progression shown above suggests he, at the very least, should NOT be fired.

Points: 5

#31 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:24pm

To be fair to Taylor, the Bengals got off to a slow start because Burrow was recovering from a serious appendectomy and the new offensive lineman had been unable to practice together in preseason due to their own injuries.

However, Taylor's game plans early in the season were pretty terrible, ESPECIALLY considering the state of our QB and O-line. He called too-cute-by-half blocking schemes that would have been difficult for an experienced unit to pull off, leading to too many sacks and pressures on Burrow. Bengals fans were right to complain about the coaching.

Like the rest of the team, Taylor appears to be learning and improving. Bengals fans are ecstatic at the continued improvement, and I think we've learned to trust this coach and these playmakers to continue progressing.

Points: 4

#18 by Rufus R. Jones // Jan 22, 2023 - 2:16pm

Like all teams, we'll see if it is sustained once they start paying a QB. Things become much more difficult. Until proven otherwise, I still don't think Zac Taylor is in the upper echelon of coaches.

Points: 1

#27 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:17pm

Even if we assume they win out and include the playoff wins, he'd still be below .500. 

Of course a SB is nice but I'm not sure we can say he's for sure good. I will say that having patience can be good though!

Points: 0

#14 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 1:52pm

Daquon Jones suddenly being out for Buffalo is a sneaky loss, he really anchored the run defense. Hopefully Phillips is healed up enough to play some meaningful snaps, otherwise that's a lot of Tim Settle. 

Points: 0

#22 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:02pm

Fingers crossed that the refs are on the lookout for cheap shots like the kind Hurst and Hendrickson delivered last month to Taron Johnson and Josh Allen, respectively.

Points: -9

#23 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:06pm

I guess getting run over but causing the rb to fall counts as a tackle.  Ha, ha

Points: 0

#24 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:07pm

Goodness.  Did Chase blend into the snow and the defenders lost him?

Points: 1

#25 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:07pm

This could be one hell of a game once Buffalo's defense comes up from the locker room.

Points: 6

#26 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:15pm

Would have been a TD if they had connected.  Bengals got lucky there

Points: 0

#28 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:22pm

Buffalo uses Taron Johnson and the linebackers interchangeably, so far Cincy has been shifting around to force the backers to act as a slot corner and Johnson to act as a backer and having good results. 

Points: 3

#36 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:39pm

Great insight!

The Bengals coaches do a good job of shifting the recivers between split, flanker, and slot. IDK much about Buffalo's defenders, but Cincy's offensive scheme has worked about as well as anyone could have hoped so far. Even on our last drive, we didn't stall out because of the coverage; we had receivers in space but Burrow couldn't get the passes where they needed to be.

Points: 2

#30 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:24pm

Clever design.  Rarely see a guy get that open in the end zone on a red zone play.  Normally things so clogged.

Points: 2

#42 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:13pm

Chase doesn't need 3 guys to handle him on a slip screen. That's just shitty defense by Buffalo.

Points: 1

#32 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:30pm

Bengals rusher blew past the Bills tackle like he was stuck in concrete

Points: 1

#34 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:34pm

That was a nice catch by 16.  Just snatched a wet ball out of the air

Points: 1

#35 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 3:37pm

Hmm. So far this isn't the great game it looked like it might be. Buffalo finally getting a stop is a step in the right direction at least.

Points: 1

#39 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:06pm

Zzzzz. This game is an example of why the idea that more scoring necessarily makes for a more exciting game is wrong. Cincinnati going down the field with little resistance is boring.

Points: -1

#40 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:07pm

Wow.  Double coverage and still makes it happen

Points: 1

#41 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:09pm

Man I think that is a TD.  But I guess they will overturn 

Points: 1

#44 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:15pm

Romo said the one key thing. Defenses can't play zone because defenders can't find their footing to catch up. I'll be curious if Frazier figures this out before the game ends.

Points: 2

#45 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:15pm

Cincy on pass rush looks like they are maintaining rush lanes to pinch Allen

Points: 1

#46 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:16pm

Why is Tony crediting Allen when Diggs made a fabulous catch??

Points: 0

#47 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:19pm

Can't punt there. You've had little success stopping the Bengals. You are also only barely outside of FG range and have every chance to score a TD before the half if you convert.

Points: 0

#49 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:23pm

Really? I think you have to punt there. 4th and 10 is tough and you're basically handing another FG to Cincinnati in that field position. I think it's realistic to get a stop here. 

Buffalo starts the half with the ball as well.

Points: 3

#51 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:28pm

The Bengals almost got into FG position anyway. The Bills need points in this game. Down by 10 and having barely slowed down the Bengals on offense, they have to be aggressive on offense. I would consider going for a fourth and ten even if they were from their own 30.

Points: 0

#53 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:33pm

But they didn't. The Bills have been a nightmare on defense and Frazier's plan clearly hasn't adjusted to the weather. They got to the half down 10 with the ball to start. Get to the half, hopefully adjust and play better in the 2nd half.

If they don't fix their issues, it really doesn't matter what happened at the end of the 1st half.

Points: 1

#62 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:44pm

Yeah, and the Bills didn't score. You had the ball down at the 41 of your opponent and got nothing. You can't do that and expect to win in any game, much less one when you are down by 10 and offering little resistance on defense. Play to win the game, not hang vaguely around and keep the loss a smaller margin.

Points: 0

#58 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:39pm

Buffalo hasn't stopped the Bengals, but they have slowed them. Cincy is picking up yards in smaller chunks, which ain't great overall but with less than a minute and 2 timeouts then a long field was enough to defend. 

Points: 0

#64 by Run dmc // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:48pm

Had they failed on 4th and 10 Cincy may have well scored to make it 20 or 24 to 7. In this case I am not sure the analytics is taking into account how efficient the Bengals offense has been in the first half.

Points: 0

#50 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:26pm

Not much of a contest in the first half. Buffalo is probably lucky it's even this close. I think the TD overturn was correct, but regardless, Cincinnati was just barely stopped from being up a full 14 and in even greater control.

Points: 0

#52 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:31pm

Credit in the extreme to the backups on O line for Cincy who have done a great job.  

Points: 4

#55 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:34pm

Quick throws and it's harder to rush the passer when you can't get great footing. 

Points: 0

#59 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:40pm

There have been multiple plays where the protection had to last.  And let's not diminish guys coming off the bench facing a great team in the playoffs.  

Points: 3

#68 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:55pm

But it's easier when the throws are out and the DL can't always get their footing.

Points: 0

#54 by occams_pointed… // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:34pm

I didn't see a reason to overturn that TD. It is supposed to be clear when you overturn the call.

Points: 0

#60 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:43pm

Which is a terrible rule, frankly. What qualifies as clear is far from clear.

Points: -1

#69 by occams_pointed… // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:56pm

You don't change the rules mid-season.

Unless the Bills would benefit

Points: 2

#75 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:06pm

It was a touchdown catch in my heart  but not in the NFL rulebook.

Chase was going to the ground, so he had to maintain control throughout the process. Even though he got a third foot down, it wasn't enough to establish him as a runner. 

Points: 1

#139 by RickD // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:16pm

It was a classic "complete the catch" call.  It's a stupid rule, but the receiver didn't keep control as he went down.  And he was lying out of bounds. 

I don't know why the NFL requires receivers to keep control going to the ground after they've established possession and clearly have two feet in bounds.  

Points: 0

#141 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:21pm

Yeah, it looked like Chase went down on his own in order to avoid any sort of hit. If he'd stayed on his feet and the defender had knocked the ball out of his hands, it would have been a catch. Weird inconsistency in the definition of a catch.

Points: 1

#61 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:44pm

Great work by Allen

Points: 0

#65 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:51pm

Allen keeps making plays.  Goodness

Points: 0

#66 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:54pm

Tony kind of mentioned it when calling out the D discipline by Cincy but really it's the d-line continuing to get a push but rarely letting Allen get the edge.  If he's going to run he has to come up the middle and risk getting creamed

Points: 0

#67 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 4:54pm

Huge drive for the Bills coming up. That defense has to show up for just about the first time all day or Cincinnati will be getting close to putting this one in a stranglehold.

Points: 0

#70 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:00pm

Not looking for a flag but thought you couldn't go that low on qb?   And know it was not intentional

Points: 0

#76 by apocalipstick // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:08pm

In the CFL that's an automatic flag, but not in the NFL.

Points: 0

#71 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:01pm

Burn a timeout and you still give up the third down conversion. Terrible game for the Bills defense.

Points: 1

#74 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:05pm

Frazier didn't adjust to the weather and footing. Romo figured it out in the first quarter. 

I get the Bills may not have the horses in the secondary right now to go man, but what he's doing now is clearly not working. At some point, you have to figure it out and adjust. And about to be down 14 late in the 3rd seems a late.

Points: 1

#72 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:02pm

Bills still in zone at key points. Frazier didn't adjust. Bengals will win unless they implode.

Points: 1

#77 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:09pm

To be fair to Frazier, I think the Bills get smoked if they try to play man against these Bengals receivers.

To be fair to you, the Bills are getting smoked playing zone, so they should at least give it a shot.

Points: 2

#81 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:15pm

Bengals have 6 drives thus far: TD, TD, Punt, FG (overturned TD), Half, TD

25 first downs, 5-7 on 3rd down conversions

Points: 0

#73 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:02pm

This is Mixon's kind of conditions.  Just using his frame and strength to power thru

Points: 3

#78 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:11pm

Think it's the correct call but somewhat surprised they called the TD since the ball was hidden from view to a degree

Points: 1

#87 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:22pm

I am too. Hopefully this signals that they will be more open to using logic to piece together the location of the ball going forward; that's long been a major frustration of mine.

Points: 0

#79 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:12pm

The Bills have to try everything they can to score TDs on every drive from here on out. No more punting.

... But, really, unless their defense improves, even scoring on every drive won't matter.

Points: 0

#80 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:14pm

Given the conditions, being on the road and quality of opponent Cincy has played just a really impressive game.  Add in backups on the O-line and it's a stunning performance

 

Look I know some posters here are going to credit the footing to help the line.  But the Bengals line is getting a push.  So..........

Points: 3

#82 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:17pm

The exact type of attempt that drives Packer fans nuts.  You need 2 yards and the qb goes deep.  And fails

Points: 0

#97 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:31pm

It hit the receiver in the hands. He drops that on a 2-yard route, too.

Points: 1

#83 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:17pm

That punt... Yes, it's deep in your own territory. But it's two yards. If you can't get two yards, how do you expect to win the game? And have you been paying attention to what is going on with your defense?

Points: 2

#86 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:22pm

That one you have to go for it. Also sends an FU to your defense and Frazier.

Points: 0

#188 by BigRichie // Jan 22, 2023 - 10:50pm

Jeepers, no, Dude, absolutely the opposite. It showed faith in Frazier and your defense.

(now, as to whether THAT! was a good idea, well ... )

Points: 0

#89 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:25pm

I tend to agree with you there. McDermott is a solid B+ coach. He can build a top team but he doesn't have the extra moves in the playoffs. 

Points: 1

#84 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:21pm

Bills coaching has to be take a lot of blame here... The defense looks utterly unprepared and repeated timid calls on fourth down are lowering their chances even further.

Points: 7

#129 by coltsandrew // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:01pm

I've only watched a couple Bills games this year, but I think the biggest issue with coaching staff is that they're just too slow to adjust to what's happening in the game. In a way, it's a lot like watching the Steelers under Tomlin. Both teams are good at getting and handling talent, but their game scripts tends to be risk-averse and they don't adjust the play-calling until it's well past obvious that they need to.

Points: 1

#85 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:22pm

Everyone on the Bills’ coaching staff should be fired after this debacle. 

Points: -5

#106 by RickD // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:41pm

As a Patriots' fan, I strongly agree.

Fire the Bengals' coaches, too!  And Andy Reid, while we're at it.

Even better (twirls moustache) Bills are forced to hire Matt Patricia as the new HC.

Points: 11

#116 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:48pm

There are rules about biological weapons.

Points: 5

#142 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:24pm

As a Bengals fan, I'm starting to wonder whether you have my team's best interests in mind ...

Points: 2

#192 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 23, 2023 - 9:14am

Oh, come on. Just Frazier. That's two Divisional games he's cost us.

Points: 0

#88 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:24pm

Obvious DPI

 

But brutal for the defender.  Called for the penalty and then crushed by your teammate

Points: 1

#90 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:26pm

That was one of the Billsiest plays I've ever seen. A DPI to cost us any chance at the game, combined with our two best DBs injuring each other. 

Points: 4

#91 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:27pm

Gene's seemingly questioning the DPI call is kind of weird.  The defender grabbed the receiver multiple times

Points: 3

#93 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:28pm

Oh boy, the Bills lose two DBs on a nasty-looking collision with each other. Insult to injury, they got called for DPI on that play too.

Points: 0

#94 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:29pm

Back to back bad plays by JB.  Should have handed off and then with his guy wide open throws high.  Ouch

Points: 1

#95 by mehnsrea // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:30pm

Bills exposed. Major flaws on defense. Could use another receiving threat too. McDermott never was a true big time coach. He’s just ok. Today he’s showing why he’s just ok.

Points: 0

#96 by mehnsrea // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:30pm

Bills exposed. Major flaws on defense. Could use another receiving threat too. McDermott never was a true big time coach. He’s just ok. Today he’s showing why he’s just ok.

Points: 0

#98 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:33pm

Nah, it's one game. One in unusual conditions to boot. The Bengals are an excellent team in their own right as well.

Points: 6

#101 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:39pm

I agree with the overall point, but I have to say I am surprised it's the Bills who seem to have struggled more to adjust to the conditions today. Obviously Cincinnati isn't exactly a tropical paradise, but Buffalo notoriously gets more snow than almost any major city in the US, and the Bills specifically have had a number of games in similar conditions the last few years.

Points: 7

#115 by RickD // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:45pm

The Bills peaked early in the season and haven't looked as tough since Von Miller went down.

And the play-calling today has been...questionable.  

Feels like they're so used to overwhelming opponents that they are having problems winning a close game.  

They're in danger of becoming the Schottenheimer Chargers at this rate.  For all the talk about being Super Bowl favorites, this is yet another year of not making the Conference Championship game.

Points: 4

#125 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:57pm

"Yet another." Lol. It's been... All of two years.

Glance through the scores of the Bills and you will clearly see they've played plenty of close games this season, winning plenty too.

Points: 0

#158 by takeleavebelieve // Jan 22, 2023 - 7:26pm

I don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual about snow in Buffalo during January. 

Points: 3

#103 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:40pm

The Bills defense is basically the early career Peyton Manning offense. We have been running it so long that our guys are experts at it, but in the playoffs when teams confuse the situation we haven't been adjusting enough. 

Points: 1

#99 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:37pm

If they overturn this is why fans scream "conspiracy"  Because for decades that was an obvious fumble

 

 

Points: -1

#100 by DoubleB // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:39pm

One DC put together an exotic blitz to get to the QB and nearly forced a turnover. The other hasn't made an adjustment since the game started.

Points: 2

#109 by apocalipstick // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:43pm

What, did they secretly replace Frazier with Spagnuolo?

Points: 2

#114 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:45pm

If they did, can we force them to keep him?

Points: 0

#107 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:42pm

So many near turnovers for Bills this game.  Goodness

Points: 0

#108 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:42pm

Cincy fans with the "Who Dey" chant 

Points: 3

#111 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:44pm

See on that 4th down the rush lane discipline of the Bengals was key.  Allen was clearly looking to escape but the rushers were pinching the pocket so he had to throw

Points: 3

#112 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:44pm

Huh. Big game hunting on 4th and Season needing 6 yards.

Points: 3

#189 by BigRichie // Jan 22, 2023 - 10:55pm

No, they needed Big Game. 4th down is definitely the most promising place to get it, as there at least the defense is playing up.

Points: 0

#113 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:44pm

That's about it.

Two games where one team didn't show up. Another moderately competitive game only kept close by the best player on the field getting injured. Cowboys-49ers is the last hope for a great game this weekend.

Points: 2

#117 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:49pm

As someone who thinks Cincy is legit good I think this is a disservice to the Bengals.  The Ravens game was more reflective of two teams that know one another literally to a player to player level.  

Points: 1

#121 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:52pm

I'm confused... I was talking about the three games we've seen so far this weekend.

Points: 0

#123 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:53pm

I thought you were suggesting Buffalo didn't show up.  My error

Points: 0

#126 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:58pm

I was... I don't know what that has to do with the Ravens.

Points: 0

#127 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:59pm

I thought pretty much all the whizerait put too much emphasis on the Ravens defense effort against Cincy.  For the reason I mentioned.  These two teams know each other down to the briefs worn on gameday.

 

Again, my mistake

Points: 1

#190 by BigRichie // Jan 22, 2023 - 10:56pm

He's claiming the Bengals were great, rather than the Bills didn't show up. Don't know why you find that confusing.

Points: 0

#118 by GwillyGecko // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:50pm

This Bills coaching staff needs to go.  McDermott, Dorsey, Frazier, all of these bums.  They should never lose at home like this in the playoffs, and not to a team with a backup OL.  Just awful.  And make sure to bring back Cole Beasley but Shakir has looked really good lately too.

Peyton Mannings 5th year ended with a 41-0 wildcard loss before his career rebounded and he finally won an MVP and eventually a SB over the next 4 years after that.  So there's hope for Josh Allen but not with McDermott(he's had his five years with Allen and will never win anything)

Points: -3

#119 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:50pm

Geez Diggs.  Is that really necessary?

Points: 0

#122 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:52pm

As a Wisconsinite full credit to Cincy coach with only a hoodie and a ballcap in this weather

Points: 10

#124 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 5:55pm

Chiefs fans: First time?

Points: 2

#128 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:00pm

It's immaterial at this point, but the Bills managing to blow all their timeouts before 7:00 in the 4th quarter is another coaching mistake today.

Points: 4

#134 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:11pm

Wasn't at least one of those used to start stopping the clock?

Points: 2

#138 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:16pm

Yeah Buffalo was down 3 scores, they were trying to preserve clock

Points: 2

#144 by Spanosian Magn… // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:37pm

Oh, it might have been. I thought I remembered two were spent on Cincy drives, presumably to head off some personnel mistake or mismatch but didn't seem to help at all, and I completely missed that they'd used the third until I saw they had none left. If they were actually trying to stop the clock that early, I honestly give them credit for being realistic about the amount of time needed to come back - usually teams wait til there's about 2 minutes left and hope for a series of quick miracles.

Points: 0

#147 by Anger...rising // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:41pm

Buffalo used timeouts at 7:19 and 7:08 to preserve the clock.

Points: 1

#130 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:01pm

Heading into the playoffs, Kansas City had the best win of the season in their 44-23 shellacking of the 49ers. Of course, that was all the way back in October when Jimmy G. was still the quarterback and Shanahan was working to integrate CMC into their game plans.

Today's performance by the Bengals is even more impressive. On the road against the #1 team by DVOA (#2 in weighted DVOA) with 3 backup offensive linemen starting, and Cincinnati walked up and down the field, logging THIRTY first downs while scoring points on five of eight possessions. The Bengals defense was unexpectedly dominant, too, holding the Bills to a season-low 10 points.

Even if Patrick Mahomes were 100% healthy, I think the Bengals would be the favorite. He's going to be hobbled from his ankle sprain, giving Cincinnati an advantage they may not even need. Can't wait!

Points: 7

#136 by Cythammer // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:14pm

"Even if Patrick Mahomes were 100% healthy, I think the Bengals would be the favorite."

On the road? Zero percent chance. I'm not sure Vegas will have them as favorites even with the injury.

Points: 2

#143 by rh1no // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:34pm

Looks like the Chiefs are currently favored by 2.5 points, in line with FiveThirtyEight's 2 point spread in favor of the Chiefs. It will be interesting to see how the line moves throughout the week.

Points: 3

#149 by OmahaChiefs13 // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:47pm

Even if Patrick Mahomes were 100% healthy, I think the Bengals would be the favorite.

I understand the enthusiasm, but no, probably not.

The dynamic between the Chiefs and Bengals is much larger for the teams (and their fanbases) than for the general betting public. Doesn't make it not real, just saying it's not very big for the books yet.

At best, I think today's win would have argued for 3 to 4 points for Cincinnati on a neutral field (making it basically a pick 'em at Arrowhead), but that argument also might have lost.

With the injury, I wouldn't be surprised to see anything from a pick 'em to Cincinnati -5.5.

Points: 0

#131 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:03pm

And that's a wrap

Points: 1

#132 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:04pm

Go Niners.  

Points: 0

#133 by big10freak // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:08pm

Joe's "Better send those refunds" line of the year so far.  And yes I know it's a contrived grievance.  But still a funny line

Points: 3

#137 by IlluminatusUIUC // Jan 22, 2023 - 6:15pm

I think Buffalo has made it as far as we will with McDermott/Frazier at the helm. They simply can not or will not adapt to the situation. We've seen it in the mutiple blown playoff leads and now multiple big game chokes in bad weather because they insist on running his all nickel defense no matter how well its working. I love Taron Johnson as much as anyone, but when Cincy was hammering him with offensive linemen and McDermott wouldn't change course it seems clear Allen needed to steal the game, and he didn't have it in him. 

Points: 2

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