Analysis: Bengals stop slippage with confidence-boosting win over Raiders

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Bengals have lost the first game after the bye week in each of the past five seasons.

That provided a little extra motivation for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Bengals (6-4) did enough of a good thing and wore down the plummeting Raiders (5-5) in the second half for a 32-13 win that ended a two-game skid and revived their confidence in a rigorous seven. -game stretching race.

It should also be noted that the sixth win tied the combined total of coach Zac Taylor’s first two seasons at Cincinnati.

“We just stayed the course,” said defensive end Sam Hubbard, who picked up a bag and fumble from Derek Carr. “We are improving day by day, game by game.”

Knowing they would have to run the ball against the Raiders’ strong pass defense, the Bengals gave the ball to Joe Mixon 30 times. He and the offensive line eventually wore Las Vegas down, with Mixon collecting 97 of 123 yards in the second half. He ran for two touchdowns.

Quarterback Joe Burrow struggled more than usual, completing 20 of 29 pass attempts for 148 yards. His best shot of the day was a 6-yard beauty against rookie Ja’Marr Chase in the left-back corner of the end zone that opened up a 22-13 lead for Cincinnati with five minutes remaining.

Chase, the Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate, leads all freshmen with eight TD catches.

Rookie Evan McPherson became the 13th player in NFL history to score three field goals from at least 50 yards in a game, including one from 54 yards all season long to tie the score at 3 in the first quarter. His four field goals were the most in a game this season. He made 11 out of 14 attempts.

What works

The defense limited the Raiders to 278 yards, the second time the Bengals held an opponent within 300 yards in a game. It was the third-lowest total for Las Vegas this season. Carr was sacked twice and Cincinnati cornerback Eli Apple intercepted him in the fourth quarter. Two plays after Apple’s pick, Mixon broke for a 20-yard TD that put the game out of reach. The Raiders were just 1 of 7 on third down.

What needs help

Burrow was not sharp. His 148 passing yards were a career low. He forced throws, fumbled on Cincinnati’s first possession of the game and was hit by Raiders passers. He was fired three times. The fourth-quarter scoring pass to Chase was his first touchdown throw in eight quarters. After a sack near the end of the first half, he limped off the field in favor of his surgically repaired left knee, but is apparently fine.

“Every game is going to be played with a different style,” Taylor said. “We knew it was a game that we were going to have to rule the football. (Burrow) just wants to win, and he doesn’t care what it looks like.

Store

Mixon – and the offensive line – continued to grind and ultimately broke the Raiders. After averaging just 2.4 yards on 11 carries in the first half, he pushed it to 6.5 on 19 carries in the second. Her 30 litters were a season high.

“We got really lucky to wear the guys down,” Mixon said, “and the big races started coming in.”

Out of stock

Besides Chase’s nice touchdown take, the Bengals’ receivers were missing big plays. Tyler Boyd had six catches for 49 yards, Chase had three for 32 and Tee Higgins had two for 15. The longest winner was a 17-yard reception by Chase.

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