Bengals Ride Burrow To 31-17 Win Over 49ers In A Classic
In Santa Clara, California, two iconic NFL franchises, which had previously clashed in unforgettable Super Bowl battles, delivered a mid-season spectacle at Levi’s Stadium. The Cincinnati Bengals secured their third consecutive victory by defeating the NFC powerhouse, the San Francisco 49ers, with a score of 31-17. Quarterback Joe Burrow, resembling the legendary Joe Montana, orchestrated a stellar performance, while a cast of standout players contributed to the Bengals’ triumph.
Burrow’s masterful display saw him exploit a 49ers defense that held the top spot in several key categories. He achieved a career-high completion percentage of 87.5%, connecting on 28 of 32 passes for 286 yards and tossing touchdown passes to three different receivers.
The game’s defining moment came when running back Joe Mixon, a native of Oakley, California, celebrated his 87-yard rushing performance with a five-yard touchdown run in the game’s waning moments, effectively sealing the victory.
Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase continued his stellar season, amassing his third 100-yard game with 10 receptions. Meanwhile, Burrow showcased his mobility with a 43-yard run, and Pro Bowl right end Trey Hendrickson, despite an ankle injury sustained in the second quarter, contributed with a crucial sack strip.
While the spotlight had been on the 49ers’ renowned defensive tandem, the Bengals’ linebackers, led by Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt, stole the show in the second half. They intercepted 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy on consecutive throws, thwarting potential scoring drives. Although Purdy finished with 365 passing yards, much of it came in the game’s closing moments, as Cincinnati’s timely defensive plays proved decisive.
The second interception occurred early in the fourth quarter when the Bengals were leading 17-10. Purdy attempted a pass over the middle to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, but it was Logan Wilson who secured his 10th career interception, making him the most prolific NFL linebacker of the 2020s. Burrow capitalized on the turnover by delivering a 17-yard touchdown pass to Chase, extending their lead to 24-10.
Burrow’s electrifying 20-yard run, his longest of the season, set up Evan McPherson’s 56-yard field goal, giving the Bengals a 17-10 advantage. The Bengals’ red-zone defense proved formidable once more, denying the 49ers any points on a series inside the 20-yard line. In a critical play, linebacker Germaine Pratt tipped and intercepted a pass, effectively shutting down the 49ers’ scoring opportunity.
Before the game, Burrow had the privilege of meeting 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana. He then channeled Montana’s brilliance as he guided the Bengals to a 14-10 halftime lead, completing 21 of 23 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. His precision in quick and intermediate passes through the middle of the field was a sight to behold.
Despite the Bengals’ offensive dominance, a fumble by tight end Irv Smith in the red zone in the closing seconds of the first half prevented them from accumulating even more yards and points.
The Bengals’ offense effectively mixed under-center and shotgun formations throughout the game. They capitalized on first downs, gaining over 50 yards on multiple occasions, and Burrow’s ability to extend plays was a crucial asset.
The Bengals’ defense excelled early in the game, containing the 49ers’ offense. While the 49ers managed to tie the game with a touchdown, the Bengals limited their progress, allowing just a field goal. Quarterback Brock Purdy had minimal success, with only 114 yards in the first half.
Despite Pro Bowl right end Trey Hendrickson briefly leaving the game with an ankle injury, he returned to contribute before the end of the half.