Joe Burrow Ja'Marr Chase Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon #28 and Joe Burrow #9 celebrate with wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals after Chase scored a second half touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images


  • The Baltimore Ravens fought as hard as they could with Tyler Huntley leading the charge
  • Fortune was simply on the side of the Cincinnati Bengals this time around
  • Both teams have a lot of questions that need solutions soon

The NFL playoffs is in full swing, at least for the AFC, after the Cincinnati Bengals came away with the 24-17 victory over AFC North rivals Baltimore Ravens, but the final score does not tell the whole story.

Here are some key moments and takeaways from an AFC Wild Card matchup for the ages.

Baltimore Needs Lamar Jackson

The absence of Lamar Jackson under center was felt for much of the game as the Ravens again leaned on their run-heavy game to give them a shot at winning.

Backup quarterback Tyler "Snoop" Huntley played the game of his life against the Bengals with 209 passing yards and two touchdowns along with a career-long 35-yard run to help power the Ravens.

He had multiple opportunities to gain first-down yardage late in the game, but his speed is simply not comparable to that of Jackson's.

Add in some ill-fated plays in the last two minutes that ended up being for naught, and the Ravens' need for an elite-level quarterback becomes even more apparent.

It is not entirely a knock against Huntley as a player since he has more than proven himself to be a capable quarterback in the NFL and his play against the Bengals brought them to the cusp of a Divisional Round appearance, but the thought of having Jackson in that spot remains a major "what if" scenario for a lot of fans.

Cincinnati's Offense Runs Through Ja'Marr Chase

Far be it from repeating the obvious, but wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase is quickly proving himself to be a cornerstone for the Bengals offense with him and quarterback Joe Burrow forming a tight bond.

Chase led all receivers in the game with 84 yards on the night alongside their lone passing touchdown early in the first quarter and it was apparent that the Louisiana State University product was again going to be a thorn in Baltimore's side.

The Ravens' defense had keyed in on Chase multiple times, but cornerback Marlon Humphrey was simply unable to stop him or at least bother him enough to make him uncomfortable.

How far the Bengals go, similar to last year, depends on how well the duo of Chase and Burrow can play–especially against the Buffalo Bills.

Sam Hubbard's Record-Setting Touchdown Return

With the game tied at 17 apiece entering the fourth quarter, a classic case of "who blinks first" played out in the Paycor Stadium.

The Ravens had marched their way down the field with Huntley finding Mark Andrews for a 25-yard gain combined with his 35-yard run that had them on the Bengals' two-yard line and was able to inch even closer to the endzone with a Gus Edwards run to the one-yard line.

With everything on the line at third-and-goal, the Ravens decided to just go for it and had Huntley go for a quarterback sneak up top – which turned out to be the game-sealing touchdown for Cincinnati.

Linebacker Logan Wilson met Huntley at the summit and knocked the ball out of his hands which allowed defensive end Sam Hubbard to take the ball and run it back to their endzone for 98 yards–the longest go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter in NFL postseason history.

James Proche's Near Hail Mary Catch

The Ravens were in an unenviable position after Hubbard returned a fumble for a touchdown, but their heart was in the right place entering the final minutes.

With 3:12 left on the clock and a turnover on downs by the Bengals, Huntley put on his quarterback cap and marched his team down the field for an opportunity at tying the game up.

Finding themselves at the Bengals' 17-yard line, it was just the right distance for the Ravens' tight end-centric offense to make the most out of it at second down.

However, an inopportune holding call on guard Kevin Zeitler pushed them back 10 yards and had Huntley scrambling to make a play with eight seconds remaining.

Huntley fired a fuck-it pass to the endzone in the hopes of either Mark Andrews or Demarcus Robinson catching it, but it was deflected by the Bengals and flipped towards James Proche II's direction.

Proche was unable to corral the ball and replays showed how close he was to corral the ball and how cruel playoff football can be at its peak.

What Lies Ahead For Both Teams

Raven general manager Eric DeCosta will have his work cut out for him as the franchise is entering another offseason of uncertainty with both Tyler Huntley and Lamar Jackson eligible for extensions and a fanbase calling for the heads of head coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Most of the Ravens' struggles have been placed on Roman for some of his head-scratching calls, but Harbaugh has not been without fault because his mismanagement of the play clock has cost them precious seconds.

Fans would point out he messed up their chances of beating the Bengals after letting the clock run down 30 seconds early into the final drive, but it is important to note that the holding call on Kevin Zeitler in the red zone was completely unexpected as he addressed in the postgame press conference.

For the Bengals, they continue their chase of a back-to-back Super Bowl appearance when they visit the Buffalo Bills for the Divisional Round.

The duo of Ja'Marr Chase and Joe Burrow is going up against a Bills defense that ranks ninth in passing yards allowed (3,433) and passing touchdowns (21) while only giving up an NFL-best 5,106 yards per game in the regular season.

Head coach Zac Taylor and offensive coordinator Brian Callahan will have to be on their x's and o's against the Bills if they want to avoid another tightly contested game like in the Wild Card.

Tyler Huntley
Tyler Huntley #2 of the Baltimore Ravens passes the ball against the Cleveland Browns in the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images