Instant analysis after Chiefs vs. Bengals in Week 13.
The Cincinnati Bengals came firing out of the gates against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13 and ultimately won, 27-24.
Cincinnati got the scoring started first but quickly fell into a habit of big mistakes that kept this one close.
Along the way, Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense looked good with Ja’Marr Chase back in the fold despite the absence of Joe Mixon. But it’s the minor mistakes coaches and fans will fixate on in the aftermath regardless of result.
Here’s a look at some quick hits and takeaways right after the game went final.
— Bengals did absolutely whatever they wanted on the first drive of the game. Samaje Perine ran well and Burrow peppered a variety of targets on their way down the field before the quarterback himself punched it in for the score. A far, far cry from how the two games against the Chiefs looked early.
— Defense got gashed a bit on the Chiefs’ first drive, especially as the Chiefs exploited the weakness to screens it showed last week against the Titans. But the unit held, making it 7-3, and every little stop like that matters greatly.
— Ja’Marr Chase’s hip, based on a few highlight plays in the first half, is just fine. His taunting penalty after a teammate’s touchdown while getting in the face of Justin Reid was incredibly silly, though.
— DJ Reader provided proof after proof of his dominance in the first half.
— Jessie Bates seemed to fake an injury to avoid a penalty.
— Hayden Hurst left with an injury.
— Samaje Perine dribbled Justin Reid off the turf with a nasty stiff arm.
— Bengals had a chance to score before halftime. On fourth down, Burrow had the option to quarterback sneak or run the end-around. Old friend Carlos Dunlap blew up the latter in about half a second, which is a critical point the Bengals will look back on regardless of result.
— Defense coughed up a seven-play drive over 77 yards for a Chiefs touchdown to start the second half.
— The worst drop of Tyler Boyd’s career came on a surefire touchdown. Instead, the Bengals had to settle for a 17-all tie.
— Germaine Pratt had potentially the play of the game with the strip fumble on Travis Kelce in a four-point game in the final quarter.
— Offense capitalized with one of the best drives of the year, carried by Perine and Chris Evans, who scored the go-ahead touchdown.
— HUGE third-down sack by Joseph Ossai with roughly 3:30 left, Chiefs then missed the game-tying field goal.
— Burrow, with the game on the line on third down, casually flips a ball 11 yards upfield to Tee Higgins in traffic to ice it. Unbelievable.
3 of 6: Bengals’ tally on trips inside the 20-yard line on Sunday against the league’s 32nd-ranked redzone defense. For all the flashy stats the offense put up, being unable to punch it in for touchdowns made their mistakes even harder to overcome.
QB Joe Burrow: How gutty is Burrow? Yes, the 286 passing yards with two scores is nice. But he was constantly taking off and putting his body on the line when nothing was there, moving the chains while picking up 46 yards and a score as a rusher.
RB Samaje Perine: Play after play after play. Perine wound up with 21 carries for 106 yards and six catches for 49 yards. But it’s the gritty shoulder-lowering stuff and tough conversions that really stick out.
DL DJ Reader: We could point to flashier guys and numbers. But it was Reader commanding multiple blockers and shifting entire lines all day, including huge redzone stops. He might be the league’s best nose tackle.
Depth: When it’s a Mahomes vs. Burrow showdown, one or two plays wins it. Could have been a three-and-out by the Bengals defense in the red zone. Could have been the Germaine Pratt strip fumble. Could have been the Chris Evans touchdown out of nowhere, or a third-down sack by Joseph Ossai. The team has immense depth and lesser-known names able to step up in any situation.