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Bengals stun top seeds in NFL playoffs

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23rd January, 2022
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The Cincinnati Bengals just keep ending NFL post-season droughts, and their latest victory has them in their first AFC championship game in 33 years.

Rookie Evan McPherson kicked a 52-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the fourth-seeded Bengals past the top-seeded Tennessee Titans 19-16 on Saturday to end the NFL’s longest active road play-off skid.

“He’s got ice in his veins,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said of McPherson.

“There’s not much more to be said. He’s just as cool as it gets.”

A week after snapping a 31-year play-off victory drought, the Bengals (12-7) finally won their first road game in the post-season after losing their first seven.

They reached the 1981 and 1988 Super Bowls by winning on their home field.

Cincinnati will play in the AFC championship game next weekend at the winner of the Buffalo-Kansas City match-up in the AFC divisional round game on Sunday.

The Bengals intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times, setting up two of McPherson’s four field goals. Luke Wilson picked off Tannehill with 20 seconds left at the Cincinnati 47.

Joe Burrow hit Pro Bowl rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase with a 19-yard pass, then the Bengals ran twice to set up McPherson for the win.

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The Cincinnati Bengals celebrate their game-winning field goal.

The Cincinnati Bengals celebrate their game-winning field goal against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional Playoff game. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“That’s a kicker’s dream, to have the game on your shoulders,” McPherson said.

Burrow shook off being sacked nine times as Tennessee tied an NFL mark held by four other teams for the most in a post-season game.

The Bengals’ second-year quarterback threw for 348 yards, and Chase finished with 109 yards receiving.

Joe Mixon ran for the Bengals’ lone touchdown, a 16-yarder on their first drive of the third quarter.

“We found a way all year,” Burrow said.

“Man, crazy, crazy game.

“That’s a really, really good team. Unbelievable defensive line. They had a great plan on defense… we found a way at the end.”

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The Titans (12-6) wrapped up their 25th season in Tennessee with their third-straight loss on their own field coming in as the AFC’s No.1 seed.

They haven’t won at home since January 2003 in the post-season.

Tennessee had Derrick Henry, the 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, on the field after he missed nine games with a broken foot.

He ran for a touchdown and finished with 66 yards.

© AAP

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