NFL Playoffs

Cincinnati Bengals Defeat Las Vegas Raiders for First Playoff Win Since 1991

The Bengals ended what had been the NFL's longest active playoff win drought

C.J. Uzomah

The long wait for a playoff victory in the Jungle is over. 

The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 in their wild card matchup on Saturday to win their first playoff game since 1991, snapping what had been the NFL's longest active winless postseason streak.  

The Bengals, in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, had not won a playoff game since Boomer Esiason led the team to a 41-14 wild card victory over the Houston Oilers. Cincinnati then lost to the Raiders in the divisional round for what would be the first of eighth straight playoff losses, with the most recent being an 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015.

That 31-year losing streak came to an end Saturday, making the Detroit Lions the new owner of the league's longest postseason victory drought (1992). 

The Bengals struck on their opening drive as Joe Burrow connected with C.J. Uzomah for a seven-yard touchdown that gave Cincinnati a 7-3 lead. 

Burrow later found Tyler Boyd for a 10-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 20-6 with two minutes left in the half. That touchdown came with controversy, however, as an official's whistle went off prior to the catch, which by rule meant the play should have been ruled dead. 

The Raiders responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Derek Carr's 14-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones to pull the Raiders within 20-13 heading into the half.

The teams exchanged field goals in the second half, with Carr finding DeSean Jackson on 4th-and-5 for a 26-yard gain to set up Daniel Carlson's 28-yarder that cut the Bengals’ lead to 26-19 with 3:37 remaining. 

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The Raiders forced a three-and-out to get the ball back with 1:51 left and no timeouts. They marched down field and into the red zone, setting up 4th-and-goal from the 11 with 17 seconds left. Carr’s pass to Jones at the goal line was intercepted by Germaine Pratt, giving the Bengals their first postseason win in more than three decades. 

Burrow, in his first playoff start, finished 24 of 34 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Ja'Marr Chase had 116 yards on nine catches. 

The Bengals advance to next weekend's divisional round, with their opponent still to be determined. 

It was the end of a tumultuous season for the Raiders that included the resignation of head coach Jon Gruden after emails where he used racist, homophobic and misogynistic language emerged, and the release of Henry Ruggs III after he was involved in a fatal crash while driving under the influence. Las Vegas went 7-5 under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, winning its final four games to make the playoffs.

The Raiders were seeking their first playoff victory since the 2002 AFC Championship Game when Rich Gannon helped lead the team to the Super Bowl.

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