The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 in their first playoff game since 2015. With this victory, the Bengals were able to secure their first playoff win which is something that has haunted this team and city for the last 31 years. The impact of this win would be much more than just a win but rather a much-needed belief in a team that has what it takes to be a winner.
As you walked around the city of Cincinnati prior to the game you could see the excitement of the people. So many Bengals fans went downtown to support this new team and let them know they would not be alone when facing this tough Raiders team. Every tailgating lot was packed as people proudly wore their Bengal gear laughing and shouting “Who Dey” everywhere. Fans that were not even alive when the Bengals won their last Bengals game were overheard doing the math to figure out just how long it has been since the Bengals won a playoff game. It was thrilling to see a new generation of Bengal fans wearing their favorite players’ jerseys and could hardly wait to watch this team led by franchise quarterback Joe Burrow.
The atmosphere in the stadium was just as electrifying. Fans were willing to brave the cold weather in order to give this team a home-field advantage. In fact, the 66,277 in attendance set the record for most ever at the stadium since the Bengals played the Pittsburgh Steelers way back in 2007. Running back Joe Mixon could be seen during pregame warm-ups talking to fans and getting them fired up for this huge match-up.
Through the whole game, you could hear this crowd yelling which helped lead to three false start penalties against the Raiders. You could also tell that all this excitement in the stands had an effect on the Bengal players themselves. They were loving every minute as they raised their hands to get the crowd louder to help disrupt crucial Raider’s 3rd downs. To give due respect to this Raiders team they did make it close even taking it to the last play of the game where they could have tied it up with a touchdown or went for two for the win. Every Bengal fan whether sitting in those stands or watching at home was on the edge of their seats. There was a huge exhale of breath and overwhelming excitement when Germaine Pratt intercepted the ball to end the game and secure the Bengal win. Wow, what an exciting win for the players, coaches, and especially fans that have been waiting for this for some time.
No question that this fan base deserved this victory as much as the players did. It was awesome to see the respect and passion of the fans as they made their way out of the stadium cheering and praising these new Bengals. Even social media was on fire with video after video of Bengals fans showing their love for this team. Now, the Bengals gear up to take on the Tennessee Titans in the next round of the playoffs and you can guarantee that they will not be alone when they take the field. WHO DEY!!!
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