Packers vs. 49ers: Live Score Updates

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:48 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:48 p.m. ET

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San Francisco’s blocked punt against Green Bay late in the fourth quarter was returned for a touchdown in one of several wild defensive plays on Saturday.
Credit…Dan Powers/The Post-Crescent, via Associated Press

So much for the bye weeks that teams worked so hard to secure. Both top-seeded teams, the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers, were upset at home on Saturday in tight and messy games that propelled the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers into the conference championship round next weekend.

Cincinnati will face the winner of Sunday’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City next week in the A.F.C. championship, while the 49ers will play in the N.F.C. championship against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Los Angeles Rams, pending the outcome of that game tomorrow.

The 49ers’ offense was dormant through most of Saturday’s game, and finished with just 212 yards total. But their defense sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers five times and the special teams unit blocked a Green Bay field goal attempt, and then a punt late in the fourth quarter, which was returned for a touchdown to tie the game at 10.

The 49ers, on runs by Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell, moved into field goal position over the final three minutes of regulation before Robbie Gould, who has never missed a field goal in the postseason, trotted onto the snowy field and nailed a 45-yard field goal as time ran out.

“Always trust Robbie; he’s as good as gold,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said afterward.

The 49ers are going to the N.F.C. championship game for the fifth time since 2011.

In the afternoon game, the Bengals knocked off the Titans, 19-16, as rookie kicker Evan McPherson hit a 52-yard field goal on that game’s final play. Cincinnati overcame nine sacks of quarterback Joe Burrow, six penalties, and survived blowing a 10-point lead, because the team intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times, including on his final pass of the game with 20 seconds remaining.

Burrow quickly moved the Bengals into range for McPherson, who converted on all four of his field goal chances on the day.

The Bengals, who last week won their first playoff game in 31 years, have advanced to the A.F.C. championship game for the first time since the 1988 season. They made it to the Super Bowl that year, but lost to the 49ers.

The winners of the conference championship games held next weekend will meet in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:19 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:19 p.m. ET

49ers 13, Packers 10

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Credit…Patrick Mcdermott/Getty Images

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Robbie Gould’s kick sailed through the uprights, and as his San Francisco teammates, bundled in red parkas, scampered onto the grass Saturday night, the Green Bay Packers just stood on their sideline. They had not lost all season at Lambeau Field, not in warm weather or temperate conditions or the winter chill, but a certain finality had now descended amid the snowfall.

The 49ers ousted the top-seeded Packers from the playoffs, 13-10, on Gould’s 45-yard field goal as time expired. San Francisco, the sixth seed, advances to play at either the Los Angeles Rams or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in next Sunday’s N.F.C. championship game.

Beyond ending Green Bay’s season, one that sparkled amid the parity of the N.F.L., San Francisco might have ended Aaron Rodgers’s marvelous career in green and gold. Rodgers has not won a Super Bowl in 11 years, losing in the conference title game four times, and he reconfigured his contract with Packers management last summer to allow him to switch teams.

The question for Rodgers will be whether he wants to play somewhere else. It is unlikely that another team will offer as full a roster as Green Bay’s, which was loaded on offense and defense — but not, as the Packers no doubt realized, on special teams.

Green Bay scored on its opening drive, a 6-yard run by A.J. Dillon, but not again until early in the fourth quarter, on a 33-yard field goal by Mason Crosby. At the end of the first half, Crosby had a field-goal attempt blocked. Then, late in the fourth quarter, Jordan Willis blitzed through the Green Bay line to block Corey Bojorquez’s punt, which Talanoa Hufanga scooped up and returned 6 yards to tie the score at 10-10.

That blocked punt came only a few minutes after Rashan Gary, a disruptive force all game for Green Bay, stuffed Elijah Mitchell on fourth-and-1 from the Packers 19-yard line.

After the 49ers stopped Green Bay and Rodgers — who completed 20 of 29 passes for 225 yards — Jimmy Garoppolo drove San Francisco 44 yards in nine plays to set up Gould’s game-winning kick. It was San Francisco’s fourth consecutive playoff win over Green Bay, dating back to the 2011 season.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:10 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:10 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The top seeds both fell today. So much for the bye week.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:10 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:10 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

49ers upset the Packers, 13-10. The second upset of the day.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:07 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 11:07 p.m. ET

The 49ers have had trouble moving the ball all game.

But their special teams unit has kept San Francisco in the game. First, they blocked a Mason Crosby field goal attempt in the first half. Then, with less than five minutes remaining, they blocked a Packers punt and returned it for a score to tie the game at 10.

Jordan Willis of the 49ers blew through the line and blocked the punt by Corey Bojorquez, who was near the Packers end zone. The ball skipped to the right and was picked up by Talanoa Hufanga, who skipped into the end zone for the score.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:51 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:51 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Niners tie it. Blocked punt and Hufanga returns it. Willis of the Niners blew through the line to get the block.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:42 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:42 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Packers stuffed Eli Mitchell on a fourth-and-1 play, and Green Bay takes over on downs after what may have been San Francisco’s best chance to get back in the game.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:35 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:35 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Deebo has been on the sideline in key spots, but the Niners are only one score behind. He came back in for a key 5-yard gain on a first down.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:31 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:31 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Niners sack Rodgers for the fourth time, and the drive stalls. Mason Crosby boots a field goal. 10-3 Packers.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:27 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:27 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Packers are knocking on the door of the end zone after Rodgers finds Lazard on a third-and-4 play for Lazard’s first catch of the night.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:25 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:25 p.m. ET

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Credit…Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

One thing to watch the rest of the game, especially as the score continues to stay close: Green Bay’s special teams. They’re really not good. In fact, according to the respected longtime N.F.L. writer Rick Gosselin, they were the worst in the entire league this season.

They rated toward the bottom of the league in several categories, such as kick return average (30th) and field-goal percentage (31st) and touchback percentage (25th). But it is how — and when — the Packers’ special teams failed them that has been most concerning. In Cincinnati in Week 5, kicker Mason Crosby missed three field goals before making the game-winner in overtime. At Kansas City in Week 9, he missed two; Green Bay lost by six. They also gave up the first punt returned for a touchdown, by Jakeem Grant of Chicago, in Week 14.

Snow is falling. The Packers lead by 7. One play can mean the difference between reaching the N.F.C. championship game and ruing a missed opportunity. The Packers hope it won’t come on special teams.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:23 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:23 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Heading into the fourth quarter, it’s Packers 7, Niners 3, and a temperature around zero.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:12 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:12 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Garoppolo looking like Joe Burrow, getting sacked to end another drive. The fourth third-down sack for Green Bay.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:03 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:03 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

We have our first points since the Packers’ opening drive. A 29-yard field goal by Robbie Gould cuts the 49ers’ deficit to 7-3 with 8:13 left in the third quarter.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:00 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 10:00 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The 49ers might be in trouble. Their do-everything receiver Deebo Samuel is verrrrrrry slow to get up after gaining 12 yards on that screen pass.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:51 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:51 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Your weekly reminder that the Packers’ special teams are atrocious. First, the blocked field goal allowed before halftime. Now, Deebo Samuel takes the second-half kickoff 45 yards to midfield.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:42 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:42 p.m. ET

The Packers head into halftime up by 7-0, and the 49ers — if they can feel their feet — should be kicking themselves.

A prime scoring opportunity stalled when Jimmy Garoppolo, after driving the 49ers 68 yards to the Green Bay 9, made a bad decision, and then a bad pass: Adrian Amos picked off the ball along the far sideline. Aaron Rodgers then capitalized on a busted coverage to find Aaron Jones for 75 yards, to the San Francisco 14. But after a sack pushed the Packers back 8 yards, Mason Crosby’s 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jimmie Ward.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:31 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:31 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

You knew a Garoppolo interception was coming.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:21 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:21 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

It’s amazing, given how this game has unfolded, that the Packers lead by only 7. If the 49ers can tie the score — or stay within 7 — at halftime, that is a win.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:27 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:27 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

To this point: San Francisco gets the ball to begin the second half. Scoring here — while limiting the time Aaron Rodgers gets with the ball before halftime — would be enormous.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:19 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:19 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Jimmy G has his first pass completion half way through the second quarter.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:06 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:06 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The 49ers have had the ball four times. Three drives have ended in sacks — two by Rashan Gary, one by Za’Darius Smith, who is playing for the first time since Week 1.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:01 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:01 p.m. ET

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Credit…Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

After one quarter, it’s Green Bay 7, San Francisco 0, and the score doesn’t even reflect the disparity so far. The 49ers look C-O-L-D and discombobulated. Maybe because they are?

The Packers look rested and sharp. Maybe because they are? The 49ers, outgained 109 to -7, have yet to record a first down or cross midfield. They should try to remedy that soon.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:55 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:55 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

As Gisele once said about another former Patriots quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo can’t catch AND throw the ball.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Yardage update: Green Bay 106, San Francisco -6.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

I wonder if we’re going to see Trey Lance. Aside from the two times he started, in Weeks 5 and 17, Lance has run in only one other game, in Week 11 at Jacksonville. If there’s ever a time the 49ers should empty their playbook …

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:48 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:48 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Whoa! The 49ers get a major break there. A video review reverses the on-field call of a Green Bay fumble recovery, and the 49ers maintain possession. Rashan Gary sacked Jimmy Garoppolo on the next play, so Green Bay gets the ball back anyway. But they have far worse field position, back inside their 15.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:38 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:38 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Packers’ reconfigured offensive line — LT Billy Turner (in place of David Bakhtiari), LG Jon Runyan, C Josh Myers, RG Lucas Patrick, RT Dennis Kelly — was mauling the 49ers up front, too.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:37 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:37 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

And we have our first turnover! Marcedes Lewis, stripped by Fred Warner, fumbles in San Francisco territory. The 49ers take over at their own 42.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:30 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:30 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

I drove by a local watering hole this morning that had a sign out front that read: “Call em the 49ers cuz they won’t get past the 50-yard line.” So far, so good. One drive in, and San Francisco’s punting it back.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:28 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:28 p.m. ET

That, friends, was a brutally efficient opening drive by the Packers — and an important one, too. A.J. Dillon’s 6-yard touchdown rush capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive in which Green Bay recorded five first downs without having a third down.

Aaron Rodgers went 4 of 5 for 54 yards — his lone incompletion was dropped — and completed all three passes to Davante Adams, who, inexplicably, was defended in man coverage. That is not — I repeat, not — a good matchup for San Francisco.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:15 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Credit…Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The most electrifying player left in these playoffs will play at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, and he isn’t Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams or Nick Bosa. He is Deebo Samuel, whom San Francisco lists as a receiver though he lines up anywhere and everywhere in its offensive formations.

His case for the title: 77 regular-season receptions for 1,405 yards; league-leading averages in yards after the catch (10) and yards per reception (18.3); oh, and Samuel threw a touchdown pass in Week 18.

Since the last meeting between the 49ers and Packers, in Week 3, San Francisco has integrated Samuel far more into their run game and his 59 carries for 365 yards and eight rushing touchdowns this season were the most by a receiver in N.F.L. history.

Last week, Samuel told San Francisco reporters that he played “wide back” — as in, wide receiver/running back — and then tormented Dallas for 110 total yards and a score. At 6-foot and 215 pounds, Samuel is fast and powerful and possesses what Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry called a terrific ability to bounce off tackles and keep his balance.

“Usually wideouts have speed, wideouts have great feet, they can run routes. But you can’t just put anybody in the backfield,” Barry said. “To have a receiver go back there and be able to do that and have the success that he’s had just goes to show you what type of athlete you’re dealing with.”

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:00 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:00 p.m. ET

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Credit…Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Aaron Rodgers has played the 49ers three times in the postseason and he has lost all three matchups. In their most recent playoff game, in the 2019 N.F.C. championship, Rodgers’s impressive stat line — 31 of 39 for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — obscured a dreadful performance overall. At halftime, when Green Bay trailed, 27-0, Rodgers had thrown for 65 yards and an interception.

His playoff ledger since winning the Super Bowl in the 2010 season has been speckled with dominant performances but also some uneven ones. The Packers are 7-8 in the postseason since that title year and 0-4 in N.F.C. championship games. Rodgers certainly doesn’t merit sole blame for all those defeats — remember how Coach Matt LaFleur attempted a close field goal in last postseason’s loss to Tampa Bay instead of trusting his quarterback to overcome an 8-point deficit? — but he admitted that playoff failures can affect his legacy.

“I think success is often based, for quarterbacks, on championships won,” Rodgers said last week. “I think success, individually, is much more than that, and failure, on the flip side of that, should not, in my opinion, be based solely on your losses and your failures, your mistakes, your low points. It’s so much more than that. It’s mindset. It’s an approach. It’s the total package. But I understand that in our business, so much of it is focused on the wins and losses, especially in the playoffs, Super Bowl rings and all that stuff.”

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:55 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:55 p.m. ET

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Credit…Roger Steinman/Associated Press

Temperatures in Green Bay should hit 11 degrees around the 8:15 p.m. Eastern kickoff, with winds of around 10 miles per hour, and they should be down to single digits by game’s end.

The 49ers haven’t played in freezing temperatures since January 2014, the last time San Francisco played at Green Bay in the playoffs (it was 5 degrees then). The coldest weather the team played in this season was 41 degrees, at Seattle in Week 13.

“Me personally, it’s not about getting used to it — it’s about going out and doing it for three-and-a-half hours,” Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And getting your mind set that ‘I can do this for three-and-a-half hours’ and focus on the game.”

But with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo managing a torn ligament in his thumb, it’s possible the chill could affect his comfort gripping and throwing the ball.

“I’ve lived in it my whole life,” said Garoppolo, who grew up in Illinois and attended college there. He added, “I think people who have grown up in it and played in it for a long time, there’s ways to prepare for it.”

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:42 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:42 p.m. ET

Bengals 19, Titans 16

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Credit…Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

NASHVILLE — The Cincinnati Bengals last week broke their 31-year playoff drought, and with a young, explosive offense, seemed like this year’s dark horse contender.

And now they officially are. The No. 4-seeded Bengals overcame nine sacks and six penalties to shock the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, 19-16, when rookie kicker Evan McPherson kicked his fourth and final field goal Saturday, a 52-yarder that split the uprights as time expired.

The Bengals, who had three interceptions of their own, will face the winner of the Chiefs-Bills game on Sunday, and will travel to either Kansas City or Buffalo.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” quarterback Joe Burrow said of the team’s youthfulness, an acknowledgment that he will have less experience no matter who his team faces in the A.F.C. championship game next week, whether his counterpart is Patrick Mahomes, 26, of Kansas City or Josh Allen, 25, of Buffalo. Burrow, 25, is in just his second N.F.L. season, an experience gap that separates him from his peers.

“Tomorrow morning might be a different story, but right now, I feel great,” Burrow said.

Despite the many hits, Burrow threw for 348 yards on 28 of 37 passing with one interception. His counterpart on Saturday, Ryan Tannehill, suffered just one sack, but was doomed by three interceptions.

Statistically, the game made no sense. Burrow was fabulous when he had time to spot his fleet-footed receivers, completing 28 of 37 passes for 348 yards. The Titans blanketed Ja’Marr Chase, who still managed to haul in five passes for 109 yards. Receiver Tee Higgins and tight end C.J. Uzomah each had seven receptions.

Burrow, though, was sacked repeatedly as the Titans defense ran in, around and through the Bengals’ porous offensive line. Tennessee defensive end Jeffery Simmons led the charge with three sacks of Burrow.

“That one was really, really hard,” Burrow said of the pressure he faced throughout the game.

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Credit…Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The Titans became the fifth team to notch nine sacks in playoff game, joining Kansas City (1994), the Browns (1987), the 49ers (1985) and Bills (1967).

It was the Bengals defense, though, that ultimately saved the day, intercepting Tannehill on the Titans’ first and last plays of the game, and once in between. The final pick was most important as it came with just 20 seconds remaining.

On a drive that began with 2:43 left in the game, Tannehill slowly marched the Titans down the field trying to get the team in field goal position. Then, on the fifth play of the series, on third-and-5 from the Titan’ 40-yard line, Tannehill’s pass was tipped by cornerback Eli Apple and hauled in by linebacker Logan Wilson.

Burrow, who had a breakout season throwing for more than 4,600 yards, got another chance to add to his résumé by stealing a second playoff win. From the Bengals’ 47-yard line, Burrow quickly hit Chase to move the ball to the Titans’ 35 and into decent field goal position.

The Bengals drained a few more seconds off the clock before McPherson connected on the game-winner.

Had Cincinnati’s offensive line been more successful, the Bengals may have won the game easily as the team held the ball for about seven minutes longer than the Titans over the course of thee night, despite the return of Tennessee’s stellar running back Derrick Henry from an absence of more than two months.

Indeed, the game got off to an auspicious start for the Bengals. On the first play from scrimmage, Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates intercepted Tannehill. With great field position, the Bengals looked poised to strike. But in a pattern that defined the game, Burrow was sacked on the first play from scrimmage. A delay-of-game penalty stalled the promising drive and the Bengals settled for a field goal, not a touchdown.

Cincinnati kicked three of them in the first half, and went into the locker room ahead, 9-6.

The Titans, meanwhile, looked rusty after a bye week. Tannehill missed receivers, was sacked, rushed throws, and Henry — who finished with 62 yards on 20 carries — didn’t seem to help much.

The Titans engineered a solid drive midway through the second quarter. Tannehill connected with his two best receivers, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. On first-and-goal, Henry lined up in the wildcat, took the snap and scored, to the delight of the home crowd that had been calling his name.

Henry and the Titans failed to score on a 2-point attempt, however. In the end, those 2 extra points would not have mattered because the Bengals’ final field goal was just enough.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:36 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:36 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Bengals need to bring back Anthony Munoz (and, like, every H.O.F. lineman) before facing K.C. or Buffalo next week.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:32 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:32 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Evan McPherson’s 52-yarder as time expired lifts the Bengals into the A.F.C. conference championship game next week at either Buffalo or Kansas City.

Emmanuel Morgan

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:33 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:33 p.m. ET

Emmanuel Morgan

Barging into Ken and Ben’s party to ask how is it possible to get 10 sacks and still lose???

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:29 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:29 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Bengals are a field goal from advancing to their first A.F.C. championship since the 1988 season. That’s when they beat Buffalo to play San Francisco in the Super Bowl. Could they follow the same path this season?

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:28 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:28 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

That was excellent coverage by Eli Apple, who either tipped the ball free or hit Westbrook-Ikhine just as the pass arrived. And now the Bengals are rolling.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:21 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:21 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

That’s now nine (!) sacks for the Titans. Only once before in the playoffs has a team been sacked at least nine times and won, according to Stathead: The Chiefs, in 1967. So, good luck, Bengals.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:11 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:11 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Huge stuff by Logan Wilson, dropping Henry for -2 on 4th and 1 from the Bengals 35.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:08 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:08 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

According to Stathead, Burrow is the second quarterback to throw for 300+ yards AND be sacked at least seven times in a playoff game. The other instance? Warren Moon, in Houston’s loss to Kansas City, in 1994.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:04 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:04 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

That’s seven sacks for the Titans. Burrow has run more yards backward than forward.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

That was a CRITICAL sack. Knocks Cincinnati out of field-goal range, even for someone who can boom it like McPherson.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

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Credit…Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Titans gave the Bengals a dose of their own medicine. Up 16-9, the Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was picked off by Titans cornerback Amani Hooker with a little over a minute left in the third quarter.

Two plays later, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has been picked off twice so far today, hit receiver A.J. Brown with a touchdown pass to tie the game at 16.

After a stutter step move as he ran to the end zone, Brown turned around and Tannehill’s pass fell right into his left arm. Brown stepped backward into the end zone with two defenders around him.

After looking lost for much of the game, the Titans offense has opened up in the second half.

With the score tied, though, the Titans’ missed two-point attempt earlier in the game may become consequential.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:59 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:59 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Tannehill loops a pass into A.J. Brown’s left arm, and steps backwards into the end zone. Tied at 16-all.

Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:53 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:53 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Another huge defensive play for Hooker, who saved a TD earlier by tackling Chase.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:47 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:47 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Remember the Titans? Amani Hooker picked off Joe Burrow. But check that — Hooker’s shoestring catch is under review.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Titans’ drive stalls and Tennessee settles for a field goal. Bengals 16, Titans 9 with less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

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Credit…Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Bengals came out firing on the opening drive, scoring a touchdown to push their lead to 16-6.

The Titans looked poised to match them after running back D’onta Foreman ran for a 45-yard gain to push Cincinnati into the red zone.

But on first-and-goal at the Bengals’ 9-yard line, the Titans lost all that momentum as quarterback Ryan Tannehill was picked off for the second time in the game. Cornerback Mike Hilton jumped in front of Tannehill’s pass, tipped it into the air, and hauled the ball in. Tannehill walked off the field shaking his head.

The Bengals were penalized 15 yards for taunting and started their drive deep in their side of the field. The drive fizzled and they were forced to punt. But they drained 1:41 off the clock, never a bad thing when holding a lead.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:42 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:42 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Tannehill connects with A.J. Brown for 40 yards. Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie slipped on the play, leaving Brown unguarded.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:31 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:31 p.m. ET

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Credit…Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The Bengals finally found the end zone, and now lead the Titans, 16-6, in the third quarter.

To open the second half, quarterback Joe Burrow leaned on running back Joe Mixon, who put together several runs. In between Burrow hit receiver Tee Higgins, who was pushed out of bounds for a gain of 20 yards. Then Mixon again and again.

The Titans managed to sack Burrow for the sixth time in the game — defensive end Jeffrey Simmons this time. But Burrow on third down lunged for a first down to push the Bengals to the Titans’ 16-yard line.

Mixon, who had a career year in 2021, did the rest. With no path through the line, he bounced outside to the left and sprinted into the end zone for Cincinnati’s first touchdown of the game.

Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:07 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:07 p.m. ET

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Credit…Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Bengals-Titans game got off to a fast start: Cincinnati intercepted Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the very first play from scrimmage.

But in a pattern that defined the first half, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked and a once-promising drive ended in a field goal, not a touchdown. Cincinnati kicked three of them, and went into the locker room ahead, 9-6.

The Titans weren’t much better at scoring. Tannehill missed receivers, was sacked, rushed throws, and having running back Derrick Henry back in the lineup didn’t seem to help much.

The Titans did engineer one solid drive, midway through the second quarter. Tannehill connected with his two best receivers, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. On first-and-goal, Henry lined up in the wildcat, took the snap and scored, to the delight of the home crowd that had been calling his name.

Henry and the Titans failed to score on a 2-point attempt, however.

Given all the pressure on Burrow, who was sacked five times — he was the first quarterback since 1999 to be sacked five times in the first half of a playoff game — Cincinnati was lucky to hold a lead. The Bengals were also called for four penalties.

When he had time, Burrow was sharp, hitting Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins for big gains. He was 17-24 passing for 236 yards.

Most everything else induced cringes and groans from the many Bengals fans who made the trip to Nashville.

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