The Cincinnati Bengals rallied to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-23 on Sunday. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Buccaneers led 17-3 at halftime.
- The Bengals outscored the Buccaneers 31-6 in the second half, giving Cincinnati its 10th win of the season.
- Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow went 27-of-39 for 200 yards and four passing touchdowns.
The Athletic’s instant analysis:
Missed opportunity for Buccaneers
Thanks to losses by the Falcons and Panthers earlier in the day, the Buccaneers had a chance to put a stranglehold on the NFC South. Instead, they wrapped their hands around their own throats and squeezed, blowing a 17-point lead against a banged-up Bengals defense that lost two more starters in the course of the game.
Tom Brady lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions – all in the second half – and the Buccaneers also botched a fake punt from their own 26-yard line on the opening drive of the third quarter. It was the first time in Brady’s career he’s lost two fumbles and thrown at least one interception, and the first time in 371 starts a Brady-led offense committed four second-half turnovers.
The Buccaneers still may be able to win a weak NFC South, but they are nowhere near good enough to overcome those kinds of mistakes against anybody, let alone the defending AFC champions. — Morrison
Bengals showcase resiliency
The Bengals continue to be one of the most resilient teams in the NFL. After a dreadful first half against the Buccaneers with only three points and repeated uncharacteristic mistakes, they found a way to create a slew of takeaways and take advantage of repeated short fields. Racking up 34 unanswered on the road against Brady is beyond remarkable. Before today Brady was 143-2 in games where he led by at least 17 points.
This response to adversity is a trend with this team that has a rare sense of belief it will always find a way to come back. It’s the trait of winning teams. It’s a trait that helped carry them to the Super Bowl last year and has them in position to make a defense of their AFC title this year. — Dehner
Evaluating the Bengals’ second-half defense
Lou Anarumo needs to get more than one interview for a head coaching job this hiring cycle. His adjustments in the second half with a defense devastated by injuries at every level is incredibly impressive and just the latest example of his blossoming reputation as one of the best coordinators in the game. He had three rookie corners, including an undrafted practice squad call-up in the game and was missing both his starting edge rushers.
Yet, he befuddled Brady with a bluff cover-0, drop eight that resulted in a Tre Flowers interception and then a blitz on the next drive that turned into a Brady sack-fumble for a turnover. It set off the 34 unanswered points. While the Bucs did melt down, it was partially because Anarumo lit them up. — Dehner
Highlight of the game
Joe Burrow has 15 fourth quarter touchdowns this season, passing Tom Brady for most this season while also playing Tom Brady.
? @NFL | @Bengals pic.twitter.com/QdOYybJtR3
— The Athletic NFL (@TheAthleticNFL) December 18, 2022
Burrow joins Andrew Luck as the only players in NFL history to record at least 75 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns in their first three seasons.
(Photo: Kim Klement / USA Today)