Burrow was brilliant before his injury, completing 22 of 34 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown. His 21 first-half completions were the most by a quarterback this season. Chase Young, Dwayne Haskins and Terry McLaurin, who were teammates of Burrow’s at Ohio State before he transferred to LSU and led the Tigers to the national title last season, were among the players who offered words of encouragement as trainers prepared to take him into the tunnel with Cincinnati leading 9-7.
Young, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, forced a fumble by Burrow at the goal line with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit in the second quarter.
Washington’s defense feasts on Ryan Finley: Burrow was replaced by second-year pro Ryan Finley, who had taken one offensive snap this season. The former North Carolina State standout didn’t have a chance against a hungry Washington defense that struggled to generate much pressure in the first half. Finley finished 3 for 10 for 30 yards and an interception by Fabian Moreau. He also was sacked four times, with Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan adding to his franchise record total and rookie seventh-round pick James Smith-Williams being credited with the first half-sack of his career.
Cincinnati managed 25 total yards in the second half. The Bengals went three-and-out on three of their first four possessions with Finley under center, and their final two drives ended with a turnover on downs and an interception. Washington took control of the game with a touchdown and a field goal in the third quarter as Cincinnati never recovered from the shock of losing its franchise quarterback for the season.
Antonio Gibson has a productive day: After Cincinnati’s first possession culminated in a missed field goal by Randy Bullock, Gibson capped an eight-play drive with his eighth touchdown of the season on a one-yard run. It marked only the third time this year that Washington scored first. The rookie running back got better as the game wore on. He had only 19 yards rushing at halftime but finished with a game-high 94 yards on 16 carries and had one catch for 10 yards.
With Morgan Moses moving from his normal position at right tackle to fill in for the injured Cornelius Lucas at left tackle and David Sharpe anchoring the right side, Washington’s offensive line fared well against Cincinnati’s weak front seven. Smith, who completed 17 of 25 passes for 166 yards, was sacked twice, but Washington ran for 164 yards on 34 carries as a team after rushing for only 126 yards in its past two games combined.
Washington survives ugly first half: Led by Burrow, the Bengals dominated the first half everywhere but on the scoreboard. The Bengals outgained Washington 247 yards to 125, controlled the ball for more than 19 minutes and ran 42 plays to Washington’s 23. Cincinnati averaged more than 10 plays on its first four drives as Burrow spread the ball around to open receivers with quick passes and the running back tandem of Gio Bernard and Samaje Perine found holes while filling in for the injured Joe Mixon.
The Bengals’ lead was only 9-7 at the break, thanks to a pair of missed field goals and a missed extra point by Bullock and Young’s touchdown-saving forced fumble at the goal line. In many ways, it was the opposite of what happened to Washington last week, when Smith and the offense moved the ball effectively in the first half of a last-second loss at Detroit but still trailed by two scores at halftime.
With Finley struggling, Washington’s offense dominated time of possession in the second half against a tired Bengals defense and did enough to extend Cincinnati’s winless streak in road games to 19.
Read below for highlights from Sunday’s game.
Washington beats Bengals, 20-9, to improve to 3-7
On Cincinnati’s first play after Dustin Hopkins missed a 38-yard field goal after the two-minute warning, Fabian Moreau intercepted a Ryan Finley pass to effectively seal Washington’s win. Washington improves to 3-7, while the Bengals fall to 2-7-1.
Leading 20-9 late in the fourth quarter, Washington takes over on downs
On fourth-and-15 from the Cincinnati 19-yard line, Ryan Finley scrambled to avoid another sack before throwing incomplete, giving the ball back to Washington. The Bengals only have one timeout remaining. (Washington 20, Cincinnati 9, 3:56 left in the fourth quarter)
Washington’s defense has dominated since Joe Burrow left with an injury
The Cincinnati offense has stalled since Joe Burrow left the game with a left knee injury early in the third quarter. Ryan Finley is 2 for 5 for 16 yards and has been sacked three times, with the most recent sack by Tim Settle. The Bengals have managed eight yards on 12 plays while going three-and-out on all but one of their second-half possessions with Finley under center. (Washington 20, Cincinnati 9, 7:35 left in the fourth quarter)
Washington leads 20-9 in fourth quarter after 50-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins
Dustin Hopkins, who has struggled this season, is 2 for 2 on field goals today after drilling a 50-yarder to cap a 14-play drive and give Washington a two-score lead. Washington burned more than 7 minutes off the clock on the march and has eclipsed 100 yards rushing as a team for only the fourth time this season. (Washington 20, Cincinnati 9, 9:44 left in the fourth quarter)
Dustin Hopkins gives Washington a 17-9 lead in third quarter with short field goal
After Cincinnati went three-and-out in backup quarterback Ryan Finley’s first series at the helm, Washington added to its lead. Dustin Hopkins capped a six-play drive with a 32-yard field goal. (Washington 17, Cincinnati 9, 4:47 left in the third quarter)
Washington retakes the lead, 14-9, on Steven Sims Jr. TD catch in third quarter
After Joe Burrow was knocked out of the game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury, Washington went 55 yards on five plays to retake the lead. Alex Smith capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown pass to Steven Sims Jr. Rookie Antonio Gibson had three carries for 38 yards on the march. (Washington 14, Cincinnati 9, 8:58 left in the third quarter)
Bengals rookie Joe Burrow carted off field with a left leg injury in third quarter
On third-and-two from the Cincinnati 10, Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow remained down and held his left leg after taking a hit on an incomplete pass. Backup Ryan Finley started to warm on the Bengals’ sideline as trainers attended to Burrow and players from both teams took a knee. Burrow was eventually carted off the field.
Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, was 22 for 34 for 203 yards before the injury. (Cincinnati 9, Washington 7, 11:35 left in the third quarter)
Washington’s defense forces a three-and-out to start the second half
Washington’s defense forced a three-and-out on Cincinnati’s opening possession of the third quarter. Despite safety Troy Apke dropping what should have been an interception on third down, it was a solid start for a unit that allowed the Bengals to run at least seven plays on each of their first four possessions of the first half. (Cincinnati 9, Washington 7, 14:06 left in the third quarter)
Bengals lead 9-7 at halftime after missed field goal
With no timeouts left, Washington made an effort to get into field goal range before the half. Bengals safety Jessie Bates III ended the threat by intercepting an Alex Smith pass that was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Margus Hunt with 18 seconds remaining. Four plays later, Randy Bullock’s 58-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half deflected off the right upright.
Bengals rookie Joe Burrow is 21 for 29 for 195 yards, while Washington’s Alex Smith is 8 for 12 for 80 yards.
Bengals take 9-7 lead late in the first half on 53-yard field goal
The Bengals have run more than twice as many plays (39) as Washington (18) while also doubling Washington in time of possession in the first half, and they finally have their first lead. Randy Bullock, who missed an extra point and a short field goal earlier in the half, drilled a 53-yarder after the two-minute warning to cap a nine-play drive. (Cincinnati 9, Washington 7, 1:39 left in the second quarter)
Washington leads 7-6 in second quarter after A.J. Green TD catch and missed extra point
Washington went three-and-out after Cincinnati’s turnover at the goal line and the Bengals’ offense responded with its third straight long drive to start the game. Aided by a 15-yard facemask penalty on Daron Payne that negated a Washington sack, Cincinnati cut into Washington’s lead with Joe Burrow’s five-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green. Randy Bullock missed the ensuing extra point. (Washington 7, Cincinnati 6, 7:32 left in the second quarter)
Chase Young forces a Joe Burrow fumble at goal line to preserve Washington’s 7-0 lead
Washington’s defense offered little resistance against Joe Burrow and the Bengals on their second possession, but once again, Cincinnati failed to come away with points. After cornerback Ronald Darby dropped an interception in the end zone on third down, the Bengals kept their offense on the field on fourth-and-goal. Then craziness ensued.
Burrow, who is 13 for 17 for 119 yards, dropped back to pass before scrambling. He was met before the goal line by Chase Young, whose hit knocked the ball loose. Officials initially ruled that safety Kamren Curl recovered the ball for Washington, brought the ball out of the end zone and fumbled it back into the end zone, where Darby fell on it and was ruled down by contact. That would have resulted in a safety for the Bengals, but replay review determined that Curl never had possession of the ball and the play was ruled a touchback, with Washington taking over at the 20-yard line. (Washington 7, Cincinnati 0, 11:59 left in the second quarter)
Washington takes 7-0 lead in first quarter on Antonio Gibson TD run
Washington capitalized on Cincinnati’s missed field goal and took the lead on a one-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Antonio Gibson. The big play on the 76-yard drive was a 42-yard catch by Terry McLaurin, who outleaped cornerback William Jackson III and came down with the ball on a post route.
It’s only the third time this season that Washington has scored first. (Washington 7, Cincinnati 0, 1:38 left in the first quarter)
Bengals’ opening drive ends with a missed field goal
The Bengals marched right down on the field on their opening possession, with Joe Burrow completing his first five passes before Ronald Darby broke up a pass intended for Tee Higgins in the end zone.
Six plays later, Randy Bullock came on to attempt a 34-yard field goal, which deflected off the right upright. Burrow is already 9 for 11 with completions to five different receivers. (Washington 0, Cincinnati 0, 5:44 left in the first quarter)