Bengals missing ‘game-changing moment’ in tie with Eagles

Cincinnati-Philadelphia play to 23-all deadlock

Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow overcame a brief injury scare and a slow start for the offense to give the Cincinnati Bengals a chance for their first win of the season, but the Philadelphia Eagles managed a late touchdown to send the game to overtime and the teams settled for a 23-23 tie Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

After struggling under heavy pressure early, including a hit that caused him to exit for one play, Burrow warmed up as the game went on and completed 13 straight passes over three consecutive scoring drives to give the Bengals a lead that nearly held for a win.

Philadelphia managed to tie the game with 21 seconds left to send it to overtime and were lining up for the potential game-winning field goal with 19 seconds left in the overtime period when a false start forced the Eagles to punt instead. Cincinnati (0-2-1) ran one play and then accepted the tie, 23-23, Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, leaving both teams still looking for their first win.

“I’ve never tied in my life,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “So, it feels strange for sure, but I know it sure as hell doesn’t feel like we won. That’s what I can tell you, just so many opportunities we had out there. We just missed that one game-breaking play there at the end. There were some things from both sides, all three phases really that were positive. There was just no game-changing moment there that took that game over for us.”

Cincinnati put together four straight scoring drives from the last full drive of the second quarter until the end of regulation but recorded just 14 yards on four possessions in overtime. Carson Wentz spoiled the Bengals' looming victory when he managed to escape Carlos Dunlap’s sack attempt and scrambled 7 yards for the game-tying touchdown with 21 seconds left.

The Bengals have failed to get a win in 11 consecutive one-score games.

“I put pressure on the quarterback and tried to reach for him, and there was some restriction while I was reaching for him, and he made a better play than we did for his team,” Dunlap said. “I’ve got to make that regardless.”

Things didn’t start off so well for Burrow and the Bengals' offense, though. Eagles defensive tackle Malik Jackson roughed the passer after he connected with Tyler Boyd for a 9-yard gain, and Burrow lay briefly on the field clinging his legs. Burrow walked off the field on his own power and Ryan Finley replaced him, but the No. 1 overall draft pick returned after one play.

Burrow faced all kinds of pressure, including four sacks in the first half and eight for the game, but he found a rhythm on the last full drive of the second quarter to briefly give Cincinnati a lead with 1:29 left before halftime on Tee Higgins' first NFL touchdown catch.

That was where the game changed for the Bengals, although the defense couldn’t protect the advantage. Philadelphia went to the locker room up 13-10 after Carson Wentz found Greg Ward open for a 29-yard touchdown catch with 16 seconds left on the clock.

The Eagles came back after the break to add to their lead on a 54-yard field goal by Jake Elliott; however, Burrow picked up where he left off and drove the Bengals down field for the go-ahead score at 17-16 with 2:22 left in the third quarter. Burrow connected with Higgins again on a four-yard touchdown pass, which marked his 11th straight completion after Tyler Boyd caught a 25-yard pass to move into the red zone.

Randy Bullock added a pair of field goals to extend the lead to seven points, including the last one for 25 yards with 3:05 left. LeShaun Sims picked off Wentz to set up the other one, a 31-yarder.

“We got a pretty good rhythm there in the third quarter,” Burrow said. “If we punch that one red zone drive in where we ended up settling for the field goal, then we win this game. We had a good rhythm going there for, you know, part of that game.”

Burrow has shown his best stuff in two-minute drill situations, but his magic ran out in overtime and he finished with 312 yards passing and two touchdowns, despite continued struggles on the offensive line, which Taylor said needs addressed, particularly the right guard spot.

Boyd finished with a season-high 125 yards on 10 catches. Higgins had five catches for 40 yards and two scores, and Joe Mixon rushed for 49 yards on 17 carries, as Cincinnati once again struggled to be more two-dimensional.

The Eagles finished with 175 yards rushing, including 95 yards from Miles Sanders.

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