Nov 15, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) huddles with the team during warmups before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Giants eye opportunity in matchup vs. Bengals

The New York Giants are sympathetic to rookie quarterback Joe Burrow’s season-ending left knee injury but regardless of the opposing quarterback, they are aware of the situation and potential to win the NFC East.

The Giants seek their third straight victory Sunday afternoon when they visit the Cincinnati Bengals, who are expected to start Brandon Allen in place of Burrow.

New York (3-7) enters Week 12 tied with Washington and Dallas for second place in the East and a half-game behind 3-6-1 Philadelphia, which tied Cincinnati earlier this season. Washington visits Dallas on Thursday and the Giants own the head-to-head tiebreaker with them.

“It’s definitely a unique opportunity,” New York tight end Evan Engram said. “It’s even more unique coming off a bye week and having that motivation and having that sense of urgency and opportunity that’s ahead of us is different.”

After losing four games by eight points or less in a 1-7 start, New York is seeking three straight wins for the first time since a six-game run from Oct. 16 to Nov. 27, 2016. The Giants followed up a 23-20 win at Washington with a 27-17 victory over Philadelphia on Nov. 15.

Daniel Jones was an efficient 21-of-28 for 244 yards while also getting a 34-yard TD run early in the first quarter. Wayne Gallman also had a pair of short TD runs and has all of his five TDs in the last four games.

New York’s defense has also held opponents without a touchdown in the first half for three straight games and against Philadelphia, they did not allow a third-down conversion on nine attempts.

The Bengals lost Burrow when he tore multiple ligaments in last week’s 20-9 loss at Washington. Ryan Finley replaced Burrow and completed 3-of-10 passes for 30 yards.

Finley started three games last season and has been Cincinnati’s primary backup since entering the league as a fourth-round pick in 2019, but Allen is familiar with Bengals coach Zac Taylor from their time with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 and 2018.

“It’s not fun,” Taylor said. “Joe was making improvements every week, and we were getting the offense headed in a direction that we thought was exciting. But that’s the way it goes. It’s ‘next man up.’”

Allen made three starts last season for Denver when he completed 39-of-84 passes for 515 yards and three touchdowns while getting sacked nine times.

The Bengals (2-7-1) have dropped their last two games since a 31-20 win over Tennessee on Nov. 1. After getting outplayed in a 36-10 loss to Pittsburgh, the Bengals squandered chances to win by missing two field goals and an extra point while Burrow lost a fumble at the goal line.

Burrow was injured after throwing a pass when Washington’s Jonathan Allen crashed into his left knee.

“It’s hard to lose our QB, our leader,” Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd said. “Seeing the play and how it happened, I felt sorry for him because I know how much he wants to win.

The Bengals lead the all-time series 6-4 and the home team has won each meeting.

–Field Level Media

Sep 22, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; General view of a Cincinnati Bengals helmet prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Two Bengals players test positive for COVID-19

Two Cincinnati Bengals players tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The Bengals, who are on a bye week, released a statement confirming the results Friday.

“The Bengals this morning were made aware that two of the team’s players have tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement read. “We are following applicable protocols and continue to prioritize the health and safety of our team. Players have not been in the facility since Wednesday. Under NFL bye week protocols players will test daily, but will not be back in the facility until next week.”

The next game for Cincinnati (2-5-1) is on Nov. 15 at the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-0).

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Amani Bledsoe (91) tackles Tennessee Titans running back Khari Blasingame (41) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Burrow, Bengals pull off surprise 31-20 upset over Titans

Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns Sunday as the Cincinnati Bengals pulled off one of the biggest upsets of Week 8, stopping the Tennessee Titans 31-20 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Burrow completed 26 of 37 passes with no interceptions, leading Cincinnati (2-5-1) to its best performance of the year in toppling the AFC South leaders. The Bengals were outgained 441-367, but committed no turnovers and came up with key stops defensively to frustrate Tennessee.

Derrick Henry rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown for the Titans (5-2), which lost their second straight game after a 5-0 start. Ryan Tannehill hit on 18 of 30 throws for 233 yards with two scores and an interception, while Corey Davis grabbed eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

However, Tennessee fell into a first-place tie with Indianapolis in the South because its defense again struggled. The Titans have allowed at least 27 points in five of their seven games. That included Burrow’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Giovani Bernard with 7:30 left in the game that sandwiched Tannehill scoring strikes to A.J. Brown and Davis.

Cincinnati set the tone with its first drive, eating more than five minutes before Randy Bullock converted a 33-yard field goal. The Bengals then pushed their lead to 10-0 when Samaje Perine plunged 1 yard for a touchdown with 10:30 left in the first half.

Tennessee got on the board behind Henry. He accounted for 46 yards on seven carries during its first touchdown drive, finishing the 75-yard march with a 3-yard run at the 6:04 mark to cut the deficit to three points.

However, Cincinnati answered back with a drive of 5:32, putting points on the board 32 seconds before halftime. Bernard, starting for the injured Joe Mixon, ran it in from the 12 to make it 17-7 at intermission.

Burrow increased the advantage to 24-7 with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd just 1:05 into the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills offensive guard Quinton Spain (67) celebrates a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals sign G Spain to practice squad

The Cincinnati Bengals signed former Buffalo Bills guard Quinton Spain to their practice squad Friday.

The Bills cut the six-year veteran last week, seven months after signing him to a three-year, $15 million extension.

Spain, 29, started the first two games this season before playing just five special teams snaps in Week 3 and about half the Bills’ offensive snaps in Week 4. He missed the next two games with a foot injury.

Spain has played in 70 games (66 starts) with the Bills and Tennessee Titans, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of West Virginia in 2015. He played four seasons with the Titans.

The Bengals (1-5-1) could use some veteran help along the offensive line. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow has been sacked a league co-leading 28 times through seven games.

In a corresponding move, Cincinnati released defensive end Kendall Futrell from the practice squad. The undrafted rookie from East Carolina signed with the Bengals in April.

–Field Level Media

Oct 11, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) rushes during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals RB Mixon (foot) ruled out for Sunday

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon did not practice for the third straight day Friday and will miss Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns due to a foot injury.

Mixon, 24, has played in 34 straight games dating back to the 2018 season.

He sustained the injury in the first half of Cincinnati’s 31-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday. He returned to the contest and finished with 18 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.

Mixon has 119 carries for 428 yards and three touchdowns in six games with the Bengals (1-4-1) this season. He also has reeled in 21 receptions for 138 yards and a score.

Mixon has rushed for 3,359 yards and 20 touchdowns and added 129 catches for 1,008 yards and five scores in 50 career games. He was selected by Cincinnati in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Giovani Bernard will likely get the start on Sunday against the visiting Browns (4-2). The eighth-year veteran has rushed 12 times for 44 yards and one touchdown and has 16 catches for 115 yards in six games this season.

–Field Level Media

Aug 19, 2020; Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale watches defensive player drills during the morning session of training camp at Under Armour Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens DC fumes over late Bengals FG to avoid shutout

What’s the point of taking a late field goal to avoid a shutout in a blowout loss? For the Cincinnati Bengals, perhaps it’s to get under the skin of the defensive coordinator of the AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor’s choice to kick with 32 seconds left in what ended up as a 27-3 loss didn’t sit well with Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, who shouted his displeasure across the field after Randy Bullock’s 38-yard attempt went through the uprights.

“He knew what it was because it was awful quiet when I yelled it across the field,” Martindale said Thursday. “There are some people that take that as a victory. We’ll see. We’ll have plenty to talk about the next time we play them.”

It will be awhile before the 4-1 Ravens and 1-3-1 Bengals see each other again, with their second scheduled meeting of the season coming in Week 17.

It was the fifth time in the past 50 years a team opted for a field goal in the final minute to avoid a shutout and only the third when down by 20 or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Ravens’ defense has been a bend-but-not-break unit so far this season, allowing 335 yards a game (sixth best in the league) while being the top scoring defense at 15.2 points a game.

Baltimore had two chances to stop Cincinnati on fourth-and-1 on the final drive to earn its first shutout in two seasons but didn’t. Ravens coach John Harbaugh wryly gave that as his response to the situation.

“I guess you have to look at it that way,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”

–Field Level Media