Bengals vs. Ravens score, takeaway: Sam Hubbard’s historic TD keeps Cincy’s AFC title defense hopes alive

Sam Hubbard, a Cincinnati native, grew up a die-hard Bengals fan. With the Tigers’ AFC title defense under serious threat Sunday night, the hometown kid hit the game-winning shot that would become a Cincinnati and NFL playoff legend.

Tigers guard Logan Wilson snatched the ball away from Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley near the Cincinnati goal line in the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ super wild-card weekend matchup with Baltimore. The loose ball was tackled by Hubbard, whose 98-yard return — the longest touchdown return in playoff history — was the game-winning score in the Tigers’ 24-17 victory.

Cincinnati had its third win over Baltimore this season when the Tigers’ defense fought off a Hail Mary thrown by Huntley in the end zone on the final play.

Baltimore dominated the opening quarter of the game, leading 10-9 at halftime. Baltimore responded with 17 plays early in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown catch by Ja’Marr Chase and a 2-yard touchdown catch by JK Dobbins to end the game. They took their first lead after Kyle Hamilton’s forced fumble on Hayden Hurst before half-time helped Justin Tucker score.

The teams exchanged points in the third quarter, with Hubbard scoring the game-winning goal. Cincinnati will now travel to Buffalo for next week’s AFC Divisional Finals.

Here’s a closer look at the Bengals’ wild win.

why the bengalis won

Cincinnati overcame the loss of its third starting offensive lineman in weeks with Jonah Williams injured in the first half. Bro, who was sacked three times in the first half, was knocked down just once in the second half.

Baltimore’s defense was largely solid, but they didn’t respond to Chase, who gave Cincinnati a 9-0 lead early in the second quarter with a 7-yard touchdown drive. The Pro Bowler finished with 84 yards and nine catches.

On the subject of the regular season, Burrow hasn’t ignited the Ravens’ defense the way he did in 2021. However, Burrow did enjoy one of his best games of the year against a Ravens defense that featured defensive backs Hamilton, Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Burrow completed nearly 72 percent of his passes while leading three long-range scores.

Similar to their offense, the Bengals defense didn’t have its best game Sunday night. But they made a big difference in clutch moments, underscored by Hubbard’s record-breaking scoring. Cincinnati’s defense allowed Baltimore to go 3-for-11 from the field and 1-for-4 in the red zone on third down.

why the crows lost

Despite not having former league MVP Lamar Jackson in the game, Baltimore gave the defending AFC champions everything they could handle. The Ravens dug themselves out of early woes by improving their physicality on both sides of the ball.

Baltimore showed considerable resolve on an early trail after Burrow’s 1-yard touchdown and the start of the second half. Three minutes after Barrow’s score, Huntley threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to DeMarcus Robinson to tie the game heading into the game’s final quarter. Back then, the game was winnable by anyone.

However, Hubbard’s touchdown changed the game as Baltimore had advanced the ball 80 yards to the Bengals 1-yard line. The two teams then exchanged punts until Robinson couldn’t contain Huntley’s Hail Mary ups and downs as time expired.

Dobbins finished with 105 all-purpose yards, including a 27-yard catch that was Baltimore’s only touchdown in the half. But he was an irrelevant factor in the Ravens’ final three offenses, as Cincinnati’s defense put the Ravens’ fate in Huntley’s hands.

Huntley, for his part, caught 17 of 29 passes for 226 yards in his ninth career start. He also ran for 54 yards nine times.

Turning Point/Gameplay

Hubbard’s touchdown came on a 14-point swing after the Ravens nearly ran the length of the field. But instead of falling behind after Hubbard posted the fourth-longest defensive scoring streak in playoff history, the Bengals never fell behind.

Hubbard’s tackle was impressive, but so was Wilson’s performance in taking the ball away from Huntley before it reached the goal line. It was a big game for Wilson, who led both teams with 10 tackles.


“Go! Run faster. Have fun. Win games for us.” — Burrow on NBC postgame on his thoughts on Hubbard’s game-winning score

“I kind of like being on the road with this team. All we need is our mentality, and I’m willing to fight with these guys anywhere.” – Hubbard on next week’s game in Buffalo

what’s next

The Bengals face the Bills next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET. The Week 17 game between Cincinnati and Buffalo was called off due to Dharma Hamlin’s medical emergency late in the first quarter. Buffalo took an early lead against Miami on Sunday before winning 34-31.

Baltimore will turn its attention to an offseason that promises to be a big one for the Ravens. Baltimore’s biggest offseason storyline is sure to be Jackson’s future, which will be a free agent. The Ravens will likely put a franchise tag on Jackson before free agency begins in order to give the two sides an extra four months to hammer out a long-term contract.

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