FSM Essential Recap: AFC Wild Card Weekend – Raiders vs Bengals

Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas Raiders (10-7) | Cincinnati Bengals (10-7)


The Bengals prevail 26-19 and end the Raiders roller-coaster season.


Raiders vs Bengals
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders finally returned to the postseason for only the second time since 2002. After winning their last four games, to earn their way in the playoffs, they had to go on the road for their Super Wild Card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Taking on the Bengals in “The Jungle” at Paul Brown Stadium was challenging to overcome. But that’s life in the postseason, and you play the best of the best if you want to move on.

For both teams, this was a chance to earn a playoff victory in decades. The Raiders hadn’t won a postseason game since 2002, while the Bengals hadn’t won one since 1990. So one of these franchises was going to get their first win in a very long time in postseason play.


The Bengals hold on to win as the Raiders fall short on the last play.


Raiders vs Bengals
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The early going saw the Bengals jump out to a lead with quarterback Joe Burrow throwing a pair of touchdowns. But the Raiders were able to hang around with their ace kicker Daniel Carlson nailing some field goals and Derek Carr finding Zay Jones for a touchdown grab. The Raiders cut the lead to a touchdown going into halftime.

Las Vegas had all of their weapons at their disposal, and while Carr looked to find all of them (Darren Waller had 12 targets, Hunter Renfrow had 11, Jones had 8), outside of the Jones touchdown, none of them was able to make those momentum-shifting plays to shift things in the Silver and Black’s favor.

Carr was sacked by defensive end Trey Hendrickson in the first quarter for a strip-sack fumble that gave the Bengals excellent field position. Having a tight end block one of the league’s best pass rushers one on one wasn’t a good idea. Fortunately, the Raiders‘ defense held them to only a field goal.

Another hiccup was on the ensuing kickoff. As the ball seemed to be bouncing out of bounds, returner Peyton Barber grabbed the ball before touching the sideline. Had he stepped out of bounds before touching the ball, it would’ve been ruled an illegal kickoff, giving the Raiders excellent field position at the forty-yard line. Instead, the Raiders took over at their two-yard line, a 38-yard difference.

Another controversial play occurred as Burrow threw a touchdown pass to receiver Tyler Boyd in the second quarter. The issue was, while the ball was in the air, a whistle was blown by the sideline referee, indicating that maybe Burrow stepped out of bounds before throwing the ball. Replay showed he had not stepped out of bounds. But with the whistle blown before possession was had, the down should’ve been re-played. Instead, the Bengals were rewarded the touchdown.

Despite all of these mishaps, the Raiders went into the half only down a touchdown, so they were still in the game; they just had some unfortunate luck on a few plays.

Adjustments were made, and the second half saw both teams’ defenses step up and keep both offensives from finding the end zone. The Raiders, who had six final drive victories on the season, saw themselves with an opportunity to do it once again. But on the final play, Carr threw an interception that sealed the win for Cincy. Carr finished with 310 yards, becoming the first Raider quarterback to throw for 300+ yards in a playoff game since 1982. Bengals rookie Ja’Mar Chase set a team record with 116 yards receiving.


It was a valiant effort but just wasn’t enough.


Raiders vs Bengals
Photo Credit: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Raiders earned their way into the postseason by winning their final four regular-season games. They deserved to be here and did what was needed to make it to the big dance. They just weren’t able to stay for longer than one song.

The Raiders showed all game how much fight they had in them, not just for all four quarters of this game, but everything they had to endure throughout the season. It wasn’t always pretty, but fighting tooth and nail, clawing, and scratching to do whatever they needed to compete, that’s all you can ask for from a team.

Many questions will be asked all offseason if they haven’t been already. What will the team do moving forward? Who will be the head coach, and will Mike Mayock return as the Raiders General Manager? We will soon find out. But at the moment, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Make no mistake about it, the Raiders earned a lot of respect around the league and showed Raider Nation that no matter what the odds are, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.

Onto the offseason and prepare for next season.


The Raiders finished 10-7 with a wild card berth. Their Commitment to Excellence will see them look to come back next season even better.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Kalani on Twitter @KLua11

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