Bengals defensive linemen B.J. Hill and Sam Hubbard crashed into Seattle quarterback Geno Smith for an incompletion on fourth down with 41 seconds left to punctuate one of Sunday's many red-zone stands in a 17-13 defensive masterpiece won by Cincinnati at Paycor Stadium.
The Bengals had already staged a furious defensive stand in the final minutes and got sacks from ends Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson with Hubbard's coming on fourth down with 2:03 left at the Bengals 14.
But the Bengals couldn't kill the clock on a three-and-out. On first down wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who had one catch in the second half, went short and Joe Burrow went long, and on third down wide receiver Tee Higgins was called for pass interference.
But the defense had the final say on a day they grinded out the win to go to 3-3 and stopped Seattle's three-game winning streak with Burrow managing a 185-yard passing day on 24 of 35 passes. In the last 25 minutes the Bengals strangled Seattle on three points in four straight red-zone trips,
The Bengals scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, but were clinging to a 14-13 lead when running back Joe Mixon was stopped on third-and-one on the first play of the fourth quarter. But ubiquitous cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt got the ball right back as the ever-opportunistic Cincinnati defense struck again on his 24th birthday.
Seattle had committed only one turnover coming into the game, but quarterback Geno Smith threw his second interception of the game when Taylor-Britt made a diving catch and returned it 24 yards to the Seattle 34.
After Burrow threw three straight incompletions, they needed Evan McPherson's 52-yard field goal with 11:47 left to make it 17-13.
On offense, it was expected to be efficiently played while featuring the NFL's two most accurate passers from last season. After he led the league with 70.8% in 2021, Burrow's 68.3 was runner-up to Smith's 69.8. Indeed, on Sunday Burrow went 68.5 while Smith went 65.8
They traded interceptions on their first series of the second half. Burrow lofted a deep sideline ball to wide receiver Chase (six catches for 80 yards), but cornerback Tre Brown got inside for the pick.
Then, with Seattle poised to take the lead on the Bengals 3, nose tackle D.J. Reader drew Seattle's illegal block before slot cornerback Mike Hilton made a leaping sideline interception at the 3 in front of Seattle wide receiver Jaxson Smith-Njgiba.
The Bengals came out throwing trying to drive it out, but Seattle came up with its first two sacks of the day. The Seahawks had to wait about 40 minutes to get one after they sacked the Giants 11 times in their last game.
The punt translated into a 23-yard return for the longest against the Bengals this season and it put Seattle in Bengals territory. Seattle drove to the 5, but on third down Taylor-Britt reached around wide receiver Tyler Lockett at the left pylon and knocked away a touchdown pass to force a field goal that cut the Bengals lead to 14-13. It was Seattle's only score on six trips inside the Bengals 20 in the second half.
Taylor-Britt was immense. He was part of a coverage scheme that held DK Metcalf to two catches for 30 yards with less than 12 minutes left before he got loose late and ended up with 69 yards on four catches.
The Bengals lost Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. (groin) early in the second half and Cody Ford finished.
The Bengals, who took a 14-10 halftime lead, held serve on their first series to tie the game at seven. They went on a crisp 14-play drive Burrow hit nine of his first 11 for 58 yards, six of them going to his three wide receivers and none longer than nine with Boyd getting the last eight for a touchdown on a slant through the middle of the Seattle zone that was true to its creed of not allowing any big plays.
Then Burrow wasted no time going longer and hit Chase on a back-shoulder throw on the sideline and a silky move racked up enough YAC for a 31-yarde for their longest play of the day. It pushed Chase over the 3,000-yard mark in his 35th career game as he became the fifth faster player to get there.
Then on the next snap he got 23 more over the middle to set up another milestone. On a slow-motion developing play, Burrow went play-action from the 3, drifted to his left, and hit rookie wide receiver Andrei Iosivas breaking across to the left for his first NFL touchdown catch on his 24th birthday.
What doesn't Burrow do? He then picked up the ball off the ground and handed it to Iosivas.
At one point Burrow hit 15 straight to finish the half 18 of 22 for 143 yards with Chase getting 67 of them on five catches
Head coach Zac Taylor sent a defensive message right away. The Bengals game captains were the season's three defensive captains: Reader, Hilton, and Hubbard. When they won the toss, they chose to start the game on defense.
But Seattle walked in that first drive in for their only touchdown and that included a rare third-down conversion from the Bengals 12 when Smith had time to find wide receiver Jaxson Njigba-Smith fighting off linebacker Germaine Pratt over the middle on a 12-yard gain from an offense that came in next to last in third-down efficiency.
The Bengals defense rebounded on a three-and-out highlighted by Taylor-Britt ripping the ball at the last instant from Metcalf on a sideline bomb and then edge Cam Sample supplied some third-down heat on an incompletion.
The Bengals' first of four sacks ended the third series on third-and-11 when Smith tried to climb a collapsing pocket and middle linebacker Logan Wilson was there to greet him.
Seattle kicker Jason Myers was 0-2 from 50 yards this season until he hit a 55-yarder with 43 seconds left in the half to cut the Bengals' lead to 14-10 at the half.