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Bengals shut down Josh Allen, Bills to arrange AFC title sport rematch with Chiefs


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Cincinnati Bengals are headed again to the AFC Championship Game.

The defending convention champions confirmed why they could be the most effective workforce within the AFC for the second straight yr, defeating the Buffalo Bills 27-10 within the divisional spherical to arrange one other title tilt in opposition to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday’s sport in Buffalo was Cincinnati’s most commanding playoff efficiency over the previous two years, together with its run to the Super Bowl final season. It was an extra indicator this season’s Bengals workforce is healthier than the one which misplaced 23-20 to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI final February.

Cincinnati by no means had an opportunity to stake its declare because the AFC’s prime seed within the common season. But the Bengals underscored their deserves in Buffalo.

Troubling development: Cincinnati needs to be involved about the way forward for its offensive line. Bengals middle Ted Karras appeared to play by means of an undisclosed damage throughout the sport. The tv broadcast indicated Karras had a proper knee subject, however he fought by means of it to complete the sport. The Bengals cannot afford to lose any extra offensive linemen. Cincinnati started Sunday’s divisional sport with three reserves beginning. If Karras goes down, too, that leaves rookie left guard Cordell Volson as the one Week 1 starter on the unit. There is a few solace for Cincinnati’s offensive line, nonetheless. Even with the backups within the fold, the Bengals ran the ball successfully and did a very good job of defending Joe Burrow all through the sport.

QB breakdown: This was among the finest playoff performances of Burrow’s younger profession. He was 23-of-36 for 242 yards and two touchdowns and accomplished his first 9 passes of the sport. Even a few of the incompletions, together with a would-be landing throw to Ja’Marr Chase that was nullified, have been spectacular. Burrow took the beneath throws when obtainable and scrambled to get yards if wanted. He additionally handed Ken Anderson for probably the most postseason passing yards in franchise historical past and helped Cincinnati preserve a cushty lead over Buffalo for practically the complete sport.

Describe the sport in two phrases: Dominating efficiency. Cincinnati went on the highway, in snowy situations, with reserves alongside the offensive line and by no means regarded troubled in opposition to the Bills. The Bengals have been six-point underdogs within the hours main as much as kickoff, based on Caesars Sportsbook. In one of many NFL’s most raucous environments, the defending AFC champions confirmed why they’re one sport from returning to the Super Bowl.

Underrated statistic to know: With Buffalo’s protection decided to not permit Cincinnati any huge performs, sustaining offensive drives was crucial to the Bengals’ success. Cincinnati transformed 5 of its first eight third downs, which performed an enormous function within the workforce’s skill to play with a lead. The Bengals had 30 first downs within the sport. — Ben Baby

Next sport: at Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, Jan. 29)

Buffalo Bills

There wasn’t one second or one play that ended the Bills’ season. Instead, the Bills have been outplayed from begin to end in all three phases, ending a season that began with such promise — because the Super Bowl favorites — in blowout trend.

The workforce’s first residence playoff loss underneath coach Sean McDermott put the weaknesses the Bills have been coping with all season on full show.

The protection was unable to make the most of an injured offensive line, whereas the Bills’ offense didn’t put collectively drives constantly, looking of sync and overwhelmed with frequent errors. Quarterback Josh Allen did not flip the ball over till the tip of the sport, as has been a difficulty for Buffalo as of late, however did not appear comfy all sport behind an offensive line that has struggled. Once once more, huge receiver Stefon Diggs was not capable of constantly develop into a part of the sport plan, ending with 4 receptions on 10 targets.

While the protection was coping with accidents, the unit had no reply for slowing Burrow, and the Bengals went up and down the sphere with ease.

On the largest of levels, a workforce that has set the Super Bowl because the clear finish purpose regarded removed from it, nearly trying unprepared for the second.

The Bills now go into the offseason with quite a lot of inquiries to reply, together with key free agent selections to be made on protection, assist wanted on the offensive line and at huge receiver, and query marks in regards to the workforce’s strategy at defensive finish.

Troubling development: Struggles of the Bills’ line of defense. Against an offensive line lacking two starters, the Bills’ line of defense struggled to regulate the road of scrimmage. In the primary half, the Bengals gained 275 yards, probably the most yards the Bills have allowed in both half this season, with 90 of these approaching the bottom. It was the second-most dashing yards the Bengals had earlier than the half this season and greater than that they had within the first half in any of their earlier 4 video games mixed. Burrow was sacked solely as soon as and pressured on seven dropbacks. While the Bills have been lacking beginning defensive deal with DaQuan Jones, the shortcoming to generate a cross rush or cease the operating sport is regarding for a gaggle the Bills have invested a lot in over the previous couple of years.

Biggest gap within the sport plan: The total offensive sport plan. There’s no excuse for a way a wholesome Bills offense carried out in opposition to the Bengals. An early 14-0 deficit did not assist, however the Bills have been tormented by poor play throughout, from the playcalling to the offensive line not giving Allen sufficient time to drops by huge receivers. The Bills weren’t capable of make the most of Allen’s skill to scramble; he was restricted to 1 cross exterior of the pocket on three makes an attempt by means of the primary three quarters. The weak spot of the Bills’ offensive line was on full show, and the unit simply regarded out of sync. — Alaina Getzenberg

Underrated statistic to know: The Bills are 1-6 (lone win: Jan. 9, 2021, in opposition to the Colts) of their playoff historical past when their opponent doesn’t commit a turnover, which the Bengals didn’t. The Chiefs didn’t flip the ball over in final yr’s divisional playoff matchup.

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