Prime-time comeback: Second-half rally lifts Bengals over Jaguars

Cincinnati erases 14-0 halftime deficit to win 24-21

CINCINNATI -- A goal line stand in the final minute before halftime proved to be the spark the Cincinnati Bengals needed to rally for a 24-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium.

After a slow start for the Bengals (3-1), it turned out that the hype surrounding a prime-time matchup between Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, the last two No. 1 overall draft picks, was warranted. But it was rookie kicker Evan McPherson who pulled through with the game-winning field goal as time expired to give the Bengals the win on their only lead of the game.

The Jaguars (0-4) remain winless over 19 straight games dating back to last season.

Cincinnati went into halftime fortunate to be down just two touchdowns after Logan Wilson and Larry Ogunjobi stuffed Lawrence short of the touchdown on fourth down. But, that defensive stop proved to be a momentum swinger for the second half when the Bengals came out of the locker room with the ball back in Burrow’s hands.

Two big plays later, the Bengals were in the end zone with a 22-yard pass to C.J. Uzomah. The defense followed with a three-and-out, and Burrow led the offense back down the field for a 1-yard touchdown run by Joe Mixon to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:10 left in the third quarter.

Lawrence responded the next drive, though, and after a Vonn Bell hold negated Trey Hendrickson’s sack, the Jaguars went back ahead on a James Robinson touchdown run that originally was ruled down before the goal line. The Jaguars won the challenge to tie the game on the extra point attempt, but the Bengals went right back to work.

Burrow connected with Uzomah again for a 33-yard touchdown to knot the game once more at 21-21 with 8:59 left. The Bengals got the ball back for the final drive after the Jaguars only managed to get to midfield on their last possession, and it was Uzomah again with the big play, a 25-yard catch to get Cincinnati to field goal range. Burrow finished 25-of-32 for 348 yards and two TDs.

McPherson drove a 39-yard field goal through the uprights for his second game winner after also doing it in overtime at home in the opener.

The rookie kicker had his first missed field goal of the season in the first half on the only good drive by the Bengals offense, and the Jaguars scored touchdowns on two of their next three possessions. The flat-footed Bengals defense especially struggled to stop the run in the first half, but a 50-yard pass from Lawrence to Laviska Shenault set Jacksonville up for a chance to extend the lead beyond 14 points going into intermission before the goal line stand.

Cincinnati’s offense had a couple splash plays in the first half, including a 33-yard pass from Burrow to Tyler Boyd, but after Ja’Marr Chase was penalized for offensive pass interference following a 13-yard catch on third-and-8, the Bengals ended up settling for a field goal try that McPherson missed from 43 yards.

The Bengals had four first downs in the first half and 107 yards of offense, including just 18 in the running game.


Sunday, Oct. 10

Green Bay at Cincinnati, 1 p.m., Fox, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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