Bengals win 31st playoff game, setting the stage for AFC title challenge – Cincinnati Bengals blog

CINCINNATI — Send these text messages. The Cincinnati BengalsFinally, they have won a playoff match.

Cincinnati beats the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19On Saturday, the AFC wild-card match was played at Paul Brown Stadium. It was Cincinnati’s first playoff victory in 31 years, since before cell phones were capable of sending texts, as memes on the internet reminded folks in the days preceding the game.

But the win wasn’t just about ending the longest playoff win drought in the NFL. It was the first step toward a run at winning the AFC title.

Cincinnati was the AFC North's projected cellar dweller and became division champs over the course of the season. This ended a six-year streak without a playoff appearance. The journey ended with a loss in overtime to the Green Bay PackersA Week 17 win by the, one the best teams in the NFL and the. Kansas City Chiefs, the AFC representatives in last year’s Super Bowl.

Those performances indicated Cincinnati wasn’t just a team that could win a playoff game. They proved that the Bengals could compete with the best in the NFL.

The Bengals had to win against the Raiders for the second consecutive season. The first came on Week 11 and set the tone for the second half of Cincinnati’s season.

This was a much bigger victory. It gave the city of Cincinnati something it hasn’t experienced in decades and set the table for the Bengals to have a truly special postseason.

Two words to describe the game Curse ending. The fable was ended by the Bengals “Curse of Bo Jackson” — the former Raiders running back’s final NFL game in January 1991 that also ended Cincinnati’s last playoff run that featured a win.

Pivotal play:Bengals quarterback Joe BurrowSearched for and scrambled Tyler BoydCincinnati took a 20-6 lead with a 10-yard touchdown pass. It appeared that Burrow was about to leave the field. Even a referee blew an errant whistle. But play continued and Cincinnati scored a crucial touchdown in the red zone.

QB breakdownBurrow proved to be efficient in his playoff debut. Burrow completed 24-of-34 passes to gain 244 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's victory over the Raiders.

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