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Hubbard’s 98-yard return fumble lifts the Bengals over the Ravens

CINCINNATI — Sam Hubbard returned Tyler Huntley’s fumble for 98 yards for a game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown, helping Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens 24–17 in an AFC wildcard game on Sunday night.

Facing a third goal in the 1st minute with 12 minutes left, Huntley attempted to go outside the line to score a goal. But he was backed by Germaine Pratt and stripped by fellow linebacker Logan Wilson.

The ball went straight to Hubbard at 2, and the defensemen flew downfield in the longest touchdown fumble in NFL postseason history. It was also the longest TD in the fourth quarter of the postseason.

Moments after the Cincinnati native’s game, with the 66,399 spectators at Paycor Stadium still humming, Hubbard was sucking oxygen from a sideline bench.

“Just the merit of the one who knocked out this ball. I was in the right place at the right time,” Hubbard said.

Baltimore drove to the Cincinnati 17 in the last minute, but Kevin Zeitler was flagged for holding and Huntley missed the end zone in the final game.

Playing behind a patchwork offensive line, Burrow passed for 209 yards and a touchdown to the AFC champions North. He also threw for a 1-yard touchdown one week after the Bengals beat the Ravens 27–16 in the regular season finale.

Next for Cincinnati (13-4) is a trip to Buffalo for a rematch of their Week 17 game, which was canceled after safety Bill Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field. With Hamlin watch from homeBuffalo advanced from 34-31 win over Miami on Sunday.

Again playing without Lamar Jackson due to a quarterback knee injury, Baltimore (10-8) hit two offensive touchdowns for the first time since November 27. Huntley passed for 226 yards and scored two touchdowns, but he also had a costly interception.

Hubbard’s dramatic trip to the end zone has sent the Ravens into an unspecified offseason centered around a free agency future Jackson. The 2019 MVP was injured in a 10-9 win over Denver on Dec. 4 and did not travel with the team to Cincinnati for the playoff game.

Huntley was tackled by Cincinnati linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaiter on the second try of his first postseason start. Early in the second quarter, the Bengals turned the mistake into a Burrow 7-yard touchdown on Ja’Marr Chase, but had to settle for a 9-0 lead after Evan McPherson missed an extra point.

Huntley stepped up after the initial problems, leading the Ravens in a 17-play, 75-yard play that lasted over 10 minutes. J.K. Dobbins got Baltimore on the board when he extended the ball over the goal line for a 2-yard touchdown.

A fumble on former Baltimore tight end Hayden Hurst provided Justin Tucker with a 22-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half, giving the Ravens a 10–9 lead at halftime. The biggest play in the scoring drive was Josh Oliver’s 19-yard reception after Huntley had to run back to recover a high snap that came out from under his hands.

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Follow Jay Cohen on https://twitter.com/jcohenap

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.



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