Orchard Park, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The Buffalo Bills were unable to extend their 2022 season with a victory on Sunday afternoon in the AFC Divisional Round at Highmark Stadium.
For the second year in-a-row, the Bills fall in the Divisional Round, this time losing to the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10, in front of the hometown crowd in Orchard Park.
Cincinnati controlled the game right from the start, and managed to hold the Bills to just 325 yards of total offense. Up next for the Bengals will be a rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday evening in the AFC Championship Game.
The Bengals received the opening kickoff and got the ball moving quickly in the hands of running back Joe Mixon. Quarterback Joe Burrow then found wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase open over the middle for a 28-yard touchdown to give Cincinnati the early lead.
The Bills suffered a three-and-out on their first drive, which gave the ball back to the Bengals on their own 33-yard line.
Burrow and the Bengals offense got right back to it on their second drive, as the third-year quarterback used a plethora of weapons to move the ball down the field to score again. This time, Burrow connected for a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hayden Hurst.
After a pair of punts exchanged by the Bills and Bengals, the home team finally got clicking and into the end zone.
Quarterback Josh Allen was the motor for the Bills on this drive, converting big completions to wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Khalil Shakir. Allen finished off the seven-minute drive with a one-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-goal that got Buffalo its first score of the game.
The Bengals kept coming on their next drive, moving the ball quickly and effectively with a mix of short passes and runs. After a third down touchdown pass from Burrow to Chase was overturned after a review, kicker Evan McPherson was called into action to make a 28-yard field goal.
The Bills had just under two minutes to make something happen before halftime and cut into their deficit, but were unable to do so and elected to punted the ball away from the Cincinnati 42-yard line with 40 seconds remaining in the half.
The Bengals tried to get down the field again in the time they had left on the clock, but it eventually expired when a "Hail Mary" pass fell incomplete in the end zone.
The Bills started off the second half with the ball and wasted no time getting into scoring position again.
Allen started the drive with a few short passes, and then hit Shakir with a crucial 17-yard pass to get the Bills onto the Bengals' side of the field. Buffalo got into the red zone but were unable to convert on a 3rd-and-goal, resulting in a field goal attempt from kicker Tyler Bass. His successful 25-yard field goal attempt brought the Bills to within one score, 17-10, early in the second half.
The Bengals started out their first drive of the half quickly, using multiple short throws from Burrow to force their way down the field. Cincinnati eventually got down to the Buffalo one-yard line with some help from a Bills pass interference penalty.
Shortly thereafter, Mixon was able to shove his way into the end zone on a one-yard run to finish off the drive.
Following yet, another three-and-out by the Bills, the Bengals started their next drive on their own 37-yard line and continued to dominate. Another Bills pass interference penalty moved the Bengals from the Buffalo 30-yard line down to the four-yard line.
Despite the Bills defense coming up big, McPherson was able to extend the Cincinnati lead from 20 yards out.
Following Cincinnati's field goal, the Bills were unable to effectively move the ball on offense, eventually leading to a turnover on downs.
After another Bengals punt on their next drive, the Bills tried to get aggressive with time not on their side. However, Allen ended up getting intercepted by cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt on a pass that was intended for wide receiver Cole Beasley.
The Bengals then ran out the remaining time on the clock that punched their ticket to the AFC Championship Game.
- 7-0 CINCINNATI: Bengals touchdown (11:40) - Joe Burrow tosses a 28-yard touchdown pass to Ja'Marr Chase. (Evan McPherson's extra point attempt is good.)
Drive info: 6 plays, 79 yards, 3:20
- 14-0 CINCINNATI: Bengals touchdown (3:47) - Joe Burrow fires a 15-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst. (Evan McPherson's extra point attempt is good.)
Drive info: 10 plays, 72 yards, 6:15
- 14-7 CINCINNATI: Bills touchdown (7:25) - Josh Allen rushes for a one-yard touchdown. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good.)
Drive info: 15 plays, 75 yards, 7:41
- 17-7 CINCINNATI: Bengals field goal (1:49) - Evan McPherson's 28-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 14 plays, 65 yards, 5:36
- 17-10 CINCINNATI: Bills field goal (7:42) - Tyler Bass' 25-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 14 plays, 65 yards, 7:18
- 24-10 CINCINNATI: Bengals touchdown (1:17) - Joe Mixon rushes for a one-yard touchdown. (Evan McPherson's extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 75 yards, 6:25
- 27-10 CINCINNATI: Bengals field goal (11:22) - Evan McPherson's 20-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 9 plays, 61 yards 3:40
The Bills will next head to the offseason, where they will have locker room cleanout day later this week and then get ready for NFL Free Agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.