From the start of Sunday’s AFC divisional round game between the Bengals and Bills, it was clear which team would come out on top. The Bengals’ impressive 27-10 win qualified them for the AFC Championship for the second year in a row and proved once again that they can compete (and win) with the best.
The recent success of the Bengals has a lot to do with quarterback Joe Barrow, as well as some other stars like wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. They have a young group looking to erase last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Rams with a win this year, and their readiness has been shown throughout the season, but especially lately.
They are on a 10 win streak and you need to go back to Halloween to find defeat.
At his post-season press conference, Bills general manager Brandon Bean spoke about the Bengals’ success, briefly mentioning how they became a force in the AFC. He said their youth and ability to pay players lower wages is one of the reasons they win, explaining the difference in ceiling size between the two franchises.
“These guys are doing rookie deals. We pay Stephon Diggs quite a large amount. We pay Josh Allen quite a large amount. [are] restrictions restrictions, but they have a really good team,” Bean said (via Sports Illustrated). “They have some good young players. We will try to attract as many good players as possible through the draft and through free agents. But, again, we have a slightly different situation with caps.
Bean said Cincinnati’s losing history led them to pick a star player early in the draft, a position he wouldn’t want to be in.
“They have a good team. Right now, they’re taking advantage of the rookie quarterback contract. Ja’Marr Chase, Bean said. “He’s so damn talented, I wish I had him. But for this you need to survive a few lean years.
“Damn Talented” goes to an AFC Championship game and the Bills have to watch from home. Chase was selected by the Bengals in 2021 with the 5th overall pick.
This season, he had 87 receptions for 1,046 yards, averaging 12 yards per catch and nine touchdowns. During his career, the 22-year-old has 168 receptions for 2,501 yards and 22 touchdowns. His resume also includes the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and two Pro Bowl selections.