Bengals Up The Ante With A 32-13 Win Over The Las Vegas Raiders

211121-Mixon-Joe_touchdown_celebration (AP)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

LAS VEGAS - The Bengals got an NFL-record tying lottery performance from rookie kicker Evan McPherson with three field goals of at least 50 yards, running back Joe Mixon bounced off the ropes after a rough first half to commandeer nearly a 20-minute time of possession and cornerback Eli Apple secured a rock-ribbed defensive performance with an interception to give the Bengals a 32-13 win over the Raiders in their first game ever on the Vegas strip.

Defensive end Sam Hubbard punctuated the day of the defense with a fumble recovery off Trey Hendrickson's sack his sixth straight game that set up McPherson's 47-yard field goal with 1:04 left, his fourth of a huge day.

Mixon rushed for two touchdowns and 123 yards on 30 carries as Cincinnati improved to 6-4 and moved up in the hunt in the AFC playoff picture.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow enjoyed an efficient game on 20 of 29 passing for a career-low 148 yards but included the back-breaking touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.

Burrow found Chase in the back corner of the end zone on an ice-cold throw from six yards to push the Bengals lead to 22-13 with 5:04 remaining. The Bayou Bengals of Burrow and Chase capped a much needed 15-play, 57 yard drive that consumed about a precious seven minutes with a spectacular play on third down.

With both the Browns and Ravens eking out three-point wins on Sunday, the Bengals were looking to keep pace in the AFC North as they rolled into the fourth quarter with about a 10-minute edge in time of possession on the Raiders.

But after Burrow scrambled for a first down to keep a promising drive going fueled by Mixon's running, the drive gummed up and they needed McPherson's third 50-plus yard field goal of the day. This one was from 50 even, tying an NFL record with his third 50-yarder and adding to his club season record of six 50 sin a season with 13:17 left in the game to give the Bengals a huge 10-point lead.

But three straight big plays by the Raiders after the Bengals suffocated them all day cut the thing to 16-13 in less than two minutes with 11:42 left. All three went to the tight ends with Darren Waller grabbing balls of 25 and 31 yards and from the Bengals 19 Foster Moreau beat middle linebacker Logan Wilson one-on-one for the Raiders' only touchdown of the day on Derek Carr's touchdown pass.

The Bengals came out fired up in the second half. On the first series, on a third-and-a-half yard, free safety Jessie Bates III roared downhill to blow up a jet sweep for a loss and forced the punt to make the Raiders 0-for-5 on third down. (They would be 0-6 and finish 1-7).

Burrow, rocked for two sacks and other hits in the first half, took the first snap of the second, went play-action, hung in the pocket and through the tightest of windows over the middle hit Chase for his longest pass of the day, a 17-yarder.

Then Burrow pulled off a fake flea flicker with Mixon and Mixon gouged out eight yards. The Bengals got their fourth third-down penalty on the Raiders defense when wide receiver Tee Higgins got mauled on a pass interference, but they needed another 50-plus field goal from McPherson after Burrow was sacked for an eight-yard loss on a rare Raider blitz by safety Jonathan Abram.

McPherson gave them a 13-6 lead on a 53-yarder in the middle of the third quarter to go with his 54-yarder in the first half. That gave him five 50s this season, breaking the club record set by Horst Muhlmann in 1970.

The defense followed it up again, stretching Vegas to 0-for-6 on third down when, on second down, edge Sam Hubbard dropped a run for a three-yard loss and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie covered up on an incomplete sideline bomb to wide receiver Zay Jones.

The Bengals rode that stout defense and two massive third-down penalties on the Raiders to a 10-6 halftime lead.

That overcome a shaky first half by the offense in which the Raiders defensive front manhandled the Bengals offensive line. Needing to run the ball against Las Vegas' Cover Three that took away the long ball but came in ranked 27th against the rush, the Bengals got no movement up front with 55 yards on 15 carries that included seven scramble yards by the harassed Burrow. before Mixon wore them down.

The final drive of the half was a good example. With the Allegiant crowd booing after a curious run on third-and-seven forced a Raider punt with 2:04 left, the Bengals had the two-minute warning and three timeouts as they started from their 20.

But the Raiders front was able to tee off while the back end took away the deep ball. Burrow gave Chase his obligatory shot at a long one in the last minute of the half, but it was short because defensive end Maxx Crosby crushed Burrow as he threw and he wasn't able to follow through. Then on the next snap, third-and-six, Burrow tried to buy some time in the pocket to spring a chunk play but there was no pocket and he was sacked. When Crosby, who came in leading the NFL in pressures, tried to strip the ball as Burrow was down, he fell on Burrow's surgically-repaired knee and for a frightful moment he grabbed it. But he walked it off and wasn't attended on the bench.

Burrow finished with just 78 yards (12 of 18) in the first half and only a long of 14 against that umbrella defense. Mixon earned all 26 yards on 11 carries.

But the Bengals defense was very good, stopping them on all four third downs in the half. Logan Wilson and and safety Von Bell shared the tackling honors with four each.

The Bengals took the lead, 10-6 with 4:15 left in the half, thanks to those two huge third-down penalties. On third-and-forever they got their second sack of Burrow, but they were in the neutral zone. On the ensuing third-and-eight, Burrow fried them on that 14-yard dart to Boyd over the middle.

Then on third-and-11 from the Vegas 25, Boyd was stopped well short of the first down, but cornerback Brandon Facyson hit him in the head and they had a first down at the Raiders 11.

The next snap was pure justice for Mixon. On his three previous runs of this drive, he was mauled in the backfield for six total yards lost as the Raiders had their way up front. When he went wide right from the Vegas 11, he had just 13 yards on nine carries. But he followed wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr.'s block on the edge and made an Olympic dive on the pylon just before his knee touched.

Until those penalties, it was a rough offensive ride. They had the ball for about ten minutes in the first quarter, but their longest play was a roughing call on Burrow. The Raiders' disciplined Cover Three not allowing anything big was as advertised. Burrow was just five of eight for 21 yards and only one completion to a wide receiver.

The Bengals held on all their third downs in the first half, one on a good rush by edge Khalid Kareem. But the Raiders were close enough for Daniel Carlson's 47-yard field goal that gave them a 6-3 lead when Bengals punter Kevin Huber, on the first punt of his 200th game, hit a line drive and Hunter Renfrow returned it a dozen yards.

For the second straight game Burrow lost the ball on the game's first series on a devastating turnover that flipped the field and gave the foe points.

Two weeks ago it was Browns cornerback Denzel Ward's 99-yard interception return. On Sunday it was Raiders end Yannick Ngakoue's 20th career forced fumble on third-and-six working against left tackle Jonah Williams for the sack-strip and free safety Dallin Leavitt running it 32 yards to the Bengals 9 with wide receiver Tee Higgins' tackle saving the touchdown.

But the defense set the tone and the offensive line regrouped. They got a nice stand to force Carlson's chip-shot field goal, highlighted by slot cornerback Mike Hilton's sniffing out a screen and blowing up Waller for a two-yard loss on second down. On third down, an incomplete flip to running back Josh Jacobs, they went to a three-safety look with Tre Flowers checking in to help with Waller in the red zone.

Check out some of the best game images as the Bengals faced the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 11.

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