It was an ugly game for both teams in many respects, where key penalties seemed to play a bigger role than actual execution on a playing surface that was, frankly, terrible and had players sliding all over the place.
With the critical post-bye game final, here’s a look at some key notes and numbers.
— Bad pickup on Maxx Crosby led to a sack-fumble on Joe Burrow during the team’s first drive. But like we saw before the team’s recent two-game skid, the defense has the ability to bail out of the offense and did, limiting the Raiders to a field goal in a terrible situation.
— No easy way to identify what was overly wrong with the offense early in this one. But calling — or checking to it at the line — a sideline-to-sideline run on third-and-one instead of using Joe Mixon is one of those little mistakes that adds up.
— Bengals finally found the endzone in the second quarter but with a catch — the Raiders practically walked them down the field for free with two critical third-down personal foul calls.
— Burrow came up limping after a hit in the first half in which he tweaked the surgically-repaired knee. The offensive line was putrid for the entire first half, pointing the spotlight right at the unit for the second half.
— Third downs were critical throughout. Namely, by the time the fourth quarter started, Cincinnati had gone 6-of-12 and Las Vegas had gone 0-for-6.
— Joe Mixon finally broke through on the game’s critical drive. He had one 19-yard rush and a few others that really took the fight out of the Raiders before Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase in the endzone to make it 22-13.
— Trey Hendrickson left with an injury, then came back and forced a sack-fumble that almost went back for a touchdown. He might just be the most important player on the entire defense.
8-of-16: The Bengals were good on third downs while the Raiders went 1-of-7. That led to running 65 total plays to Las Vegas’ 35 while sitting on the ball for more than 36 minutes.
Joe Mixon: With Burrow having a mostly off day, Mixon carried the load for the offense to the tune of 123 yards on 30 carries with two scores. There were some negative runs in there that were mostly a product of the blockers in front of him, but he kept hammering away, wore the Raiders down and then finished them off.
Bounce Back: It was ugly in many ways, but kudos go to the Bengals for snapping out of a two-game skid and winning on the west coast during a 4 p.m. ET kick. It also shows growth considering the team was 2-7 after the bye since 2012 before Sunday.