NEW ORLEANS _ When Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow asked for wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase's national championship game jersey to wear to Sunday's game against the Saints at the Caesar's Superdome, Chase had to take the LSU No. 1 jersey out of the frame hanging on the wall.
But that's OK. Burrow and Chase gave us another memory to frame when they connected on the Bengals' longest play of the season with 1:57 left and the Bengals trailing, 26-24. Chase took Burrow's 10-yard back shoulder throw on the left sideline, made cornerback Bradley Roby miss and then outran the Honey Badger himself Tyrann Mathieu for a 60-yard touchdown to prove that lightning can strike the same place twice in the Bengals' logic defying 30-26 victory.
"I knew it was either a stiff-arm or keep running past him," said Chase who did the latter to give the Bengals their first and only lead of the day.
It was their second touchdown connection of the game for Burrow and Chase, just like their two touchdowns guided LSU to the 2019 national title in this very building.
"I knew right where I was going," said Burrow, when he saw the Saints in man coverage after he had checked down underneath all day. "We start doing that and we're going to get one-on-ones and that's how we won today."
As Burrow said, "When Ja'Marr did what Ja'Marr does."
Chase had a season-high 132 yards on seven catches with the help of his first plus-40 ball of the season.
"Joe and were on the same page with the back shoulder," Chase said. "That way I can make a guy miss and just make a play with my feet.
"It means a lot actually," Chase said. "Just knowing I got the advantage on beating New Orleans coming back after the season to talk a little trash, so that's good. They all love the Saints. It's good to come back home and rub it in their face a little bit."
JERSEY JOE: Burrow decided on wearing Chase's jersey Saturday and asked Chase to bring it on the trip. An easy call, he thought, since Chase grew up 15 minutes from the Superdome.
"We made a lot of great plays together at LSU and in this state," Burrow said. "I wanted it to be a great tribute of Louisiana."
Asked where this play ranked, Burrow said," It won the game for us, so it's up there."
It was Burrow's first fourth-quarter comeback and game-winning drive of the season after an early season he could have four with three losses at the gun. Now he has four fourth-quarter comebacks and five game-winning drives in his career.
"I would say that we made the plays when we needed to win the game and that's what was escaping our grasp for the first five games," Burrow said. "We didn't quite get that one last play to win it. Today we did."
GAME BALLS: Three of them. Chase, Burrow and right edge Trey Hendrickson got game balls. So Burrow lit it up with a 126 passer rating on 28 of 37 passing for 300 yards, his 13th 300-yarder for the Bengals, four shy behind Carson Palmer in fourth place on the club list. Trey Hendrickson didn't have a sack, but when he hit old friend Andy Dalton's arm on the third-down incompletion, it gave the ball back to Burrow and Chase with 2:10 left and it took them just one play..
Then tackle B.J. Hill and Sam Hubbard combined for the sack on the last series, the Bengals' only one of the day, but it came on the biggest snap.
FIRST PLACE AGAIN: Ted Karras, the veteran center, was asked by head coach Zac Taylor who he wanted to do the "Who Going To Beat Them Bengals? Nooobody," chant. He didn't blink.
"Our playmakers were amazing," Karras said. "We did enough up front. We were solid. A couple of them were weird and they got a little loose. Joe's a dog. Ja'Marr's a dog. I'm really excited to get out of here with a win."
Told Baltimore had just lost, he knew what that meant in the AFC North. Bengals, Ravens in first at 3-3.
"We're tied again, baby," Karras said. "Keep it going."
How badly did they need it? Staring at 2-4, down 17-7 and then 23-14 in the middle of the third quarter and not touching the ball for about 45 minutes of real time? Let cornerback Eli Apple tell you.
How much did they need it?
"Like water. Like we needed air," Apple said. "That crap is everything."
Middle linebacker Logan Wilson went out late with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Akeem Davis-Gaither and they only used one linebacker, Germaine Pratt, on the last drive of the game. Except on the last play Davis-Gaither replaced Pratt. It's unclear how serious the injuries are to Wilson and nose tackle Josh Tupou (calf).