The Cincinnati Bengals are going to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1988, and multiple former Ohio State players helped them get there.
With the Bengals and Titans tied 16-16 and just 20 seconds left to play, Eli Apple helped make the play of the game when he deflected a pass intended for Titans wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. After Apple knocked the ball up into the air, Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson intercepted Tannehill’s throw, giving the Bengals possession at their own 47-yard line.
That gave Joe Burrow – who 60 percent of Eleven Warriors readers said they still claim as a Buckeye even though he finished his college career at LSU – an opportunity to get the Bengals back into field goal range to win the game in regulation. He took advantage, completing a 19-yard pass to Ja’Marr Chase, which set up the game-winning 52-yard kick by Evan McPherson.
On a day where the Bengals’ offensive line (with Isaiah Prince starting at right tackle) was consistently overmatched, allowing the Titans to record a playoff-record nine sacks, Burrow hung tough and completed 28 of his 37 passing attempts for 348 yards. He threw one interception, though that wasn’t his fault, as the ball bounced off of Bengals running back Samaje Perine’s hands before being picked off by Titans safety Amani Hooker.
Vonn Bell recorded six tackles for the Bengals, including a first-quarter sack, while Sam Hubbard finished the game with three tackles, including a tackle for loss on a Derrick Henry run.
Apple was called for a taunting penalty after he stood over Tannehill and mocked him following an interception by Bengals teammate Mike Hilton in the third quarter.
Eli Apple stands over Tannehill after this insane Hilton INT: you trash— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) January 22, 2022
Got a flag for it pic.twitter.com/vQ2YkkVGAU
In the end, Apple backed up his trash talk and more than made up for that penalty as he made one of the crucial plays that enabled him and the rest of his Bengals teammates to celebrate their second playoff win in as many weeks.
Titan pack hittin already ! #WhoDeyBitch— Eli Apple (@EliApple) January 23, 2022
Lets go ! #WhoDey— Sam Hubbard (@Sam_Hubbard_) January 23, 2022
Bosa sacks Rodgers twice
Despite leaving the San Francisco 49ers’ wild card round win over the Dallas Cowboys early with a concussion, Nick Bosa was full-go for the 49ers’ divisional round game against the Packers, and he was unbothered by the Green Bay cold even with the temperature in the low teens.
Nick Bosa doesnt seem to mind the cold. pic.twitter.com/yZpZsBplhG— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) January 22, 2022
Bosa looked as good as ever in Saturday night’s game, sacking Aaron Rodgers twice before halftime. He also forced a fumble on the second sack, and although the Packers recovered, the sack forced them to settle for a field goal attempt, which the 49ers blocked.
Those points the Packers failed to score at the end of the first half proved to be crucial to the outcome of the game, which the 49ers won 13-10 to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three years since they drafted Bosa. The 49ers previously made the Super Bowl in Bosa’s rookie season; they missed the playoffs last year after Bosa tore his ACL.
Josh Myers, who started at center for the Packers, had his rookie season come to an end with the 49ers’ win.
Conference championship schedule
Saturday’s upset wins by the Bengals and 49ers mean there will be multiple Buckeyes on the field in both of next weekend’s conference championship games. To make it to the Super Bowl, both of those teams will need to pull off road upset wins for the second week in a row on Sunday. Jordan Fuller also still has a chance to win a Super Bowl ring with the Los Angeles Rams after their 30-27 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though he is out for the season with an ankle injury.
Sunday’s schedule with the Buckeyes on each roster:
Sunday, 3 p.m. (CBS): No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs
Bengals: Eli Apple, Vonn Bell, Sam Hubbard, Isaiah Prince (and Joe Burrow)
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. (FOX): No. 6 San Francisco 49ers at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams
49ers: Nick Bosa, Trey Sermon
Rams: Jordan Fuller (IR)
|PLAYER||POS||TEAM||DIVISIONAL ROUND STATS|
|ELI APPLE||CB||BENGALS||3 tackles, 1 PBU|
|VONN BELL||S||BENGALS||6 tackles, 1 sack|
|NICK BOSA||DE||49ERS||3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF|
|JORDAN FULLER||S||RAMS||IR (ankle)|
|SAM HUBBARD||DE||BENGALS||3 tackles, 1 TFL|
|JOSH MYERS||C||PACKERS||Started at C|
|ISAIAH PRINCE||OT||BENGALS||Started at RT|