Raiders vs. Bengals score: Cincinnati gets back on track as defense steps up in Las Vegas

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The Cincinnati Bengals got back on track in Week 11 with a 32-13 win over the Las Vegas Raiders -- in Allegiant Stadium. 

Cincinnati had lost in somewhat embarrassing fashion to both the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns in its most recent two games, and had done so after briefly taking over the top spot in the AFC. It looked for a moment like this game might head in that direction as well after the Bengals' first drive ended with a strip-sack of Joe Burrow that set up the Raiders in scoring position right away. 

But the Cincinnati defense clamped down in the red zone, holding the Raiders to just a field goal on the drive. As it turned out, that drive would be a sign of things to come. The Bengals defense controlled the game for much of the afternoon, and made several more key stops in its own territory. That performance allowed the offense enough time to get on track after a slow start. 

In the end, Joe Mixon's 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns, combined with Burrow's timely (if not necessarily explosive) passing gave the Bengals all that they needed to pull off a win in hostile territory. 

Why the Bengals won

For starters: their defense. The front four front held Josh Jacobs in check all game long, and Derek Carr never really looked comfortable. Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson kept making plays in the backfield. Jessie Bates III made several big plays coming down from his safety position into the box, and both Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie made big pass breakups on plays down the field. 

The offense struggled for much of the game to keep Joe Burrow protected, but the Bengals came up with a bunch of timely conversions. They went 8 of 15 on third downs, routinely keeping drives alive at the last moment. Tyler Boyd has been overshadowed by Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins for much of the season, but came up big in this game. Chase also got on the board with a late touchdown, and Joe Mixon had one of his best games of the year on the ground -- even after getting off to a slow start. 

Why the Raiders lost

The Raiders simply could not stop undermining themselves with penalties at the worst possible moments. They took seven in all, which is not an outrageous number, but they routinely extended Bengals drives or gave them second chances at conversions. 

Their offense was also held in check throughout the day. Late in the fourth quarter, they were still averaging less than 4 yards per play. That's embarrassing. The Raiders were also 0 for 6 on third downs during the competitive portion of the game. (Their first third-down conversion of the afternoon came with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter.) That simply cannot happen if you plan on winning a football game. 

Turning point

With 10:57 remaining in the second quarter, the Bengals got the ball back on their own 28-yard line, trailing 6-3. They proceeded to reel off a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a Joe Mixon touchdown run that gave Cincinnati a lead it would never relinquish. 

That drive included two massive penalties on the Raiders. The first was an offside penalties on defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson, which nullified a third-down sack of Joe Burrow and gave the Bengals another chance to convert. They did just that and continued to move down the field. The second penalty came deep in Raiders territory on another third down, and it also extended Cincinnati's drive. On third-and-11, Burrow completed a short pass to Tyler Boyd, but Brandon Facyson was called for unnecessary roughness on a helmet-to-helmet hit. 

The Bengals scored on the next play and never looked back. 

Highlight play

Here's the aforementioned Mixon touchdown that gave the Bengals the lead. 

It's a really nicely-designed play. Tee Higgins came across the formation right right to left in jet motion, which held the defense on that side of the field. Mixon took a step in that direction as well, to set up a counter play. 

The key, though, was sneaking Stanley Morgan Jr. from the back side to the front as a lead blocker. He cleared the way for Mixon to hit the edge, and Mixon was able to do the rest from there. 

What's next

The Bengals are now 6-4 and sit one game back of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North race. Cincinnati owns the tiebreaker by virtue of its Week 7 win, but the two teams play again in Week 16. Next week, the Bengals welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town for a division matchup with heavy playoff implications. 

The Raiders' loss drops their record to 5-5. They're in third place in the AFC West, ahead of the Denver Broncos by virtue of the tiebreaker. Vegas is not in playoff position at the moment. The Raiders have a short break before they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Dallas could be without both Amari Cooper (COVID-19) and CeeDee Lamb (concussion) for that game. 

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Season Leaders

passing
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J. Burrow 3135 YD, 23 TDS, 14 INTS
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J. Burrow 3135 YD, 23 TDS, 14 INTS
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D. Carr 3663 YD, 17 TDS, 9 INTS
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D. Carr 3663 YD, 17 TDS, 9 INTS
rushing
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J. Mixon 227 ATT, 978 YD, 12 TDS
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J. Mixon 227 ATT, 978 YD, 12 TDS
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J. Jacobs 124 ATT, 472 YD, 7 TDS
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J. Jacobs 124 ATT, 472 YD, 7 TDS
receiving
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J. Chase 55 REC, 958 YD, 8 TDS
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J. Chase 55 REC, 958 YD, 8 TDS
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H. Renfrow 73 REC, 760 YD, 4 TDS
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H. Renfrow 73 REC, 760 YD, 4 TDS
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 22, 2021, 12:55 AM
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@Raiders via Twitter
November 22, 2021, 12:11 AM
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 22, 2021, 12:07 AM
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 11:57 PM
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Bengals D-Line has been terrific. Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson balled out.

November 21, 2021, 11:50 PM
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 11:50 PM
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 11:44 PM
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That's probably gonna do it, folks. Joe Mixon takes it into the end zone to give the Bengals a 29-13 lead. Considering how little the Raiders offense has done today, 16 points seems insurmountable with just 3:51 left.

November 21, 2021, 11:40 PM
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 11:39 PM
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What a fantastic performance by Cincinnati's defense. Totally dominated the Raiders all game long. 

November 21, 2021, 11:38 PM
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Ja'Marr Chase is so good. Chase got behind both defenders on the corner route and Burrow made a perfect throw. Bengals lead is back to two scores. 

November 21, 2021, 11:35 PM
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@Bengals via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 11:33 PM
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Enormous drive for Cincy. Third-down conversions, time coming off the clock. Have to convert to a touchdown to make it really impactful.

November 21, 2021, 11:32 PM
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@Raiders via Twitter
November 21, 2021, 11:26 PM
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