Burrow, Chase lead Bengals to 30-26 win over Saints

Jude Papillion, Editor-in-Chief

Demario Davis led the Saints in tackles with nine total and five solo plus two sacks (Matthew Tate)

The New Orleans Saints fell to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday after the Bengal defense forced a fourth-down stop on New Orleans’ final possession. The tight 30-26 loss gives the Saints a dismal 2-4 record, but marked the return of Bengals’ superstars Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase to the Caesars Superdome for the first time since winning the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship at LSU. 

The Bengals started the game with the ball, and both teams went on to punt following their first possessions. After fielding the Saints’ first punt, Bengals’ receiver Andrew Dowell fumbled, and the ball was recovered by New Orleans. The turnover allowed the Saints to capitalize with points on a quick three play, 32-yard drive culminating with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to Tre’Quan Smith.

After exchanging punts again, Burrow led the Bengals on a methodical 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Burrow finding running back Joe Mixon on an underneath pass for a 9-yard touchdown reception. 

The Saints responded quickly on their next drive, as backup wide receiver Rashid Shaheed took a handoff and dashed down the field for a 44-yard touchdown run.

The Black and Gold defense forced another Bengal punt after the touchdown, and the Saints were once again able to put points on the board. This time, converting a 35-yard Wil Lutz field goal that gave New Orleans their largest lead of the game at 17-7.

After gaining solid field position — thanks to a 21-yard reception from Burrow to Tyler Boyd — and then driving into the red zone, Burrow was able to scramble out of pressure on a critical third down and used his feet to score a 19-yard touchdown.

The Saints got the ball back with 5:44 left in the second quarter and chewed the clock down to one second remaining before sending Lutz on the field for a 30-yard field goal to take a 20-14 halftime lead. 

Following a 37-yard Lutz field goal that allowed New Orleans to extend its lead at the start of the third, Burrow connected with Chase for a 26-yard catch and run. Three plays later, Burrow found Chase again, this time for a touchdown to cut the Saints lead to two.

The Saints countered with a long 14-play, 7:23 drive that ended with a 31-yard Lutz field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Saints’ defense was able to keep the Bengals’ offense out of the endzone on the next possession. Thus, limiting Cincinnati to a 52-yard Evan McPherson field goal, but leaving just 3:47 on the clock. 

The Bengals forced the Saints to punt with 2:10 remaining on their next possession, giving Cincinnati an opportunity to take the lead with a score. It took them just one play. Burrow found Chase on a 10-yard strike that he carried 50 yards down the sideline for the pair’s second touchdown connection of the game. 

“That was an unbelievable play by him,” Burrow said when commenting on Chase’s game winning touchdown. “When the going gets tough, I’m going to try to find that guy and he’s going to make plays for us … I’m never surprised by that guy.”

With a final chance to put the game away, the Saints started with the ball on their own 30-yard line and made it as far as the Cincinnati 41 before a sack on Dalton created a fourth and 17 situation for New Orleans. Dalton’s final pass to Marquez Callaway fell incomplete with 34 seconds left, and Burrow took a knee to end the game. 

“I feel like we’ve been a pretty good red zone defense this season. Obviously that could possibly be the difference in the game, those guys going three for three down there,” said Saints’ defensive back Tyrann Mathieu after the game. “The red zone — we struggled in that area today. And then obviously, the one big play at the end of the game, we got to make that tackle.”

Dalton led the Saints with 162 passing yards and one touchdown, completing 17 of his 32 attempts in his third start this season. Alvin Kamara led in rushing with 19 carries for 99 yards, and Smith led the New Orleans receiving corps with three receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. 

Burrow finished with 300 passing yards and four total touchdowns after going 28 for 37. Chase, the reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Archbishop Rummel High School product finished with seven receptions for 132 yards and two scores. 

“It was crazy knowing that I was back home,” Chase said in his postgame interview. “The fans were crazy. New Orleans fans and Bengals fans were both excited to see both teams. It was an unbelievable experience.”

The Saints will face the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Thursday, Oct. 20. The Cardinals are 2-4 this season and the Saints are +1.5 favorites to win, according to FanDuel. Kickoff is slated for 7:15 p.m. CST and the game will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video. 

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