Sports Packers vs. 49ers: Live Score Updates

Sports Packers vs. 49ers: Live Score Updates

Sports

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:31 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:31 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

You knew a Garoppolo interception was coming.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:21 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:21 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

It’s amazing, given how this game has unfolded, that the Packers lead by only 7. If the 49ers can tie the score — or stay within 7 — at halftime, that is a win.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:27 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:27 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

To this point: San Francisco gets the ball to begin the second half. Scoring here — while limiting the time Aaron Rodgers gets with the ball before halftime — would be enormous.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:19 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:19 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Jimmy G has his first pass completion half way through the second quarter.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:06 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:06 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The 49ers have had the ball four times. Three drives have ended in sacks — two by Rashan Gary, one by Za’Darius Smith, who is playing for the first time since Week 1.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:01 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 9:01 p.m. ET

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Credit…Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

After one quarter, it’s Green Bay 7, San Francisco 0, and the score doesn’t even reflect the disparity so far. The 49ers look C-O-L-D and discombobulated. Maybe because they are?

The Packers look rested and sharp. Maybe because they are? The 49ers, outgained 109 to -7, have yet to record a first down or cross midfield. They should try to remedy that soon.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:55 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:55 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

As Gisele once said about another former Patriots quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo can’t catch AND throw the ball.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Yardage update: Green Bay 106, San Francisco -6.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:51 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

I wonder if we’re going to see Trey Lance. Aside from the two times he started, in Weeks 5 and 17, Lance has run in only one other game, in Week 11 at Jacksonville. If there’s ever a time the 49ers should empty their playbook …

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:48 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:48 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Whoa! The 49ers get a major break there. A video review reverses the on-field call of a Green Bay fumble recovery, and the 49ers maintain possession. Rashan Gary sacked Jimmy Garoppolo on the next play, so Green Bay gets the ball back anyway. But they have far worse field position, back inside their 15.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:38 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:38 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Packers’ reconfigured offensive line — LT Billy Turner (in place of David Bakhtiari), LG Jon Runyan, C Josh Myers, RG Lucas Patrick, RT Dennis Kelly — was mauling the 49ers up front, too.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:37 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:37 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

And we have our first turnover! Marcedes Lewis, stripped by Fred Warner, fumbles in San Francisco territory. The 49ers take over at their own 42.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:30 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:30 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

I drove by a local watering hole this morning that had a sign out front that read: “Call em the 49ers cuz they won’t get past the 50-yard line.” So far, so good. One drive in, and San Francisco’s punting it back.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:28 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:28 p.m. ET

That, friends, was a brutally efficient opening drive by the Packers — and an important one, too. A.J. Dillon’s 6-yard touchdown rush capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive in which Green Bay recorded five first downs without having a third down.

Aaron Rodgers went 4 of 5 for 54 yards — his lone incompletion was dropped — and completed all three passes to Davante Adams, who, inexplicably, was defended in man coverage. That is not — I repeat, not — a good matchup for San Francisco.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:15 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:15 p.m. ET

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Credit…Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The most electrifying player left in these playoffs will play at Lambeau Field on Saturday night, and he isn’t Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams or Nick Bosa. He is Deebo Samuel, whom San Francisco lists as a receiver though he lines up anywhere and everywhere in its offensive formations.

His case for the title: 77 regular-season receptions for 1,405 yards; league-leading averages in yards after the catch (10) and yards per reception (18.3); oh, and Samuel threw a touchdown pass in Week 18.

Since the last meeting between the 49ers and Packers, in Week 3, San Francisco has integrated Samuel far more into their run game and his 59 carries for 365 yards and eight rushing touchdowns this season were the most by a receiver in N.F.L. history.

Last week, Samuel told San Francisco reporters that he played “wide back” — as in, wide receiver/running back — and then tormented Dallas for 110 total yards and a score. At 6-foot and 215 pounds, Samuel is fast and powerful and possesses what Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry called a terrific ability to bounce off tackles and keep his balance.

“Usually wideouts have speed, wideouts have great feet, they can run routes. But you can’t just put anybody in the backfield,” Barry said. “To have a receiver go back there and be able to do that and have the success that he’s had just goes to show you what type of athlete you’re dealing with.”

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:00 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 8:00 p.m. ET

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Credit…Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

Aaron Rodgers has played the 49ers three times in the postseason and he has lost all three matchups. In their most recent playoff game, in the 2019 N.F.C. championship, Rodgers’s impressive stat line — 31 of 39 for 326 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — obscured a dreadful performance overall. At halftime, when Green Bay trailed, 27-0, Rodgers had thrown for 65 yards and an interception.

His playoff ledger since winning the Super Bowl in the 2010 season has been speckled with dominant performances but also some uneven ones. The Packers are 7-8 in the postseason since that title year and 0-4 in N.F.C. championship games. Rodgers certainly doesn’t merit sole blame for all those defeats — remember how Coach Matt LaFleur attempted a close field goal in last postseason’s loss to Tampa Bay instead of trusting his quarterback to overcome an 8-point deficit? — but he admitted that playoff failures can affect his legacy.

“I think success is often based, for quarterbacks, on championships won,” Rodgers said last week. “I think success, individually, is much more than that, and failure, on the flip side of that, should not, in my opinion, be based solely on your losses and your failures, your mistakes, your low points. It’s so much more than that. It’s mindset. It’s an approach. It’s the total package. But I understand that in our business, so much of it is focused on the wins and losses, especially in the playoffs, Super Bowl rings and all that stuff.”

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:55 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:55 p.m. ET

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Credit…Roger Steinman/Associated Press

Temperatures in Green Bay should hit 11 degrees around the 8:15 p.m. Eastern kickoff, with winds of around 10 miles per hour, and they should be down to single digits by game’s end.

The 49ers haven’t played in freezing temperatures since January 2014, the last time San Francisco played at Green Bay in the playoffs (it was 5 degrees then). The coldest weather the team played in this season was 41 degrees, at Seattle in Week 13.

“Me personally, it’s not about getting used to it — it’s about going out and doing it for three-and-a-half hours,” Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And getting your mind set that ‘I can do this for three-and-a-half hours’ and focus on the game.”

But with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo managing a torn ligament in his thumb, it’s possible the chill could affect his comfort gripping and throwing the ball.

“I’ve lived in it my whole life,” said Garoppolo, who grew up in Illinois and attended college there. He added, “I think people who have grown up in it and played in it for a long time, there’s ways to prepare for it.”

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:42 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:42 p.m. ET

Bengals 19, Titans 16

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Credit…Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

NASHVILLE — The Cincinnati Bengals last week broke their 31-year playoff drought, and with a young, explosive offense, seemed like this year’s dark horse contender.

And now they officially are. The No. 4-seeded Bengals overcame nine sacks and six penalties to shock the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, 19-16, when rookie kicker Evan McPherson kicked his fourth and final field goal Saturday, a 52-yarder that split the uprights as time expired.

The Bengals, who had three interceptions of their own, will face the winner of the Chiefs-Bills game on Sunday, and will travel to either Kansas City or Buffalo.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” quarterback Joe Burrow said of the team’s youthfulness, an acknowledgment that he will have less experience no matter who his team faces in the A.F.C. championship game next week, whether his counterpart is Patrick Mahomes, 26, of Kansas City or Josh Allen, 25, of Buffalo. Burrow, 25, is in just his second N.F.L. season, an experience gap that separates him from his peers.

“Tomorrow morning might be a different story, but right now, I feel great,” Burrow said.

Despite the many hits, Burrow threw for 348 yards on 28 of 37 passing with one interception. His counterpart on Saturday, Ryan Tannehill, suffered just one sack, but was doomed by three interceptions.

Statistically, the game made no sense. Burrow was fabulous when he had time to spot his fleet-footed receivers, completing 28 of 37 passes for 348 yards. The Titans blanketed Ja’Marr Chase, who still managed to haul in five passes for 109 yards. Receiver Tee Higgins and tight end C.J. Uzomah each had seven receptions.

Burrow, though, was sacked repeatedly as the Titans defense ran in, around and through the Bengals’ porous offensive line. Tennessee defensive end Jeffery Simmons led the charge with three sacks of Burrow.

“That one was really, really hard,” Burrow said of the pressure he faced throughout the game.

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Credit…Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The Titans became the fifth team to notch nine sacks in playoff game, joining Kansas City (1994), the Browns (1987), the 49ers (1985) and Bills (1967).

It was the Bengals defense, though, that ultimately saved the day, intercepting Tannehill on the Titans’ first and last plays of the game, and once in between. The final pick was most important as it came with just 20 seconds remaining.

On a drive that began with 2:43 left in the game, Tannehill slowly marched the Titans down the field trying to get the team in field goal position. Then, on the fifth play of the series, on third-and-5 from the Titan’ 40-yard line, Tannehill’s pass was tipped by cornerback Eli Apple and hauled in by linebacker Logan Wilson.

Burrow, who had a breakout season throwing for more than 4,600 yards, got another chance to add to his résumé by stealing a second playoff win. From the Bengals’ 47-yard line, Burrow quickly hit Chase to move the ball to the Titans’ 35 and into decent field goal position.

The Bengals drained a few more seconds off the clock before McPherson connected on the game-winner.

Had Cincinnati’s offensive line been more successful, the Bengals may have won the game easily as the team held the ball for about seven minutes longer than the Titans over the course of thee night, despite the return of Tennessee’s stellar running back Derrick Henry from an absence of more than two months.

Indeed, the game got off to an auspicious start for the Bengals. On the first play from scrimmage, Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates intercepted Tannehill. With great field position, the Bengals looked poised to strike. But in a pattern that defined the game, Burrow was sacked on the first play from scrimmage. A delay-of-game penalty stalled the promising drive and the Bengals settled for a field goal, not a touchdown.

Cincinnati kicked three of them in the first half, and went into the locker room ahead, 9-6.

The Titans, meanwhile, looked rusty after a bye week. Tannehill missed receivers, was sacked, rushed throws, and Henry — who finished with 62 yards on 20 carries — didn’t seem to help much.

The Titans engineered a solid drive midway through the second quarter. Tannehill connected with his two best receivers, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. On first-and-goal, Henry lined up in the wildcat, took the snap and scored, to the delight of the home crowd that had been calling his name.

Henry and the Titans failed to score on a 2-point attempt, however. In the end, those 2 extra points would not have mattered because the Bengals’ final field goal was just enough.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:36 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:36 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Bengals need to bring back Anthony Munoz (and, like, every H.O.F. lineman) before facing K.C. or Buffalo next week.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:32 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:32 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Evan McPherson’s 52-yarder as time expired lifts the Bengals into the A.F.C. conference championship game next week at either Buffalo or Kansas City.

sports Emmanuel Morgan

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:33 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:33 p.m. ET

Emmanuel Morgan

Barging into Ken and Ben’s party to ask how is it possible to get 10 sacks and still lose???

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:29 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:29 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Bengals are a field goal from advancing to their first A.F.C. championship since the 1988 season. That’s when they beat Buffalo to play San Francisco in the Super Bowl. Could they follow the same path this season?

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:28 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:28 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

That was excellent coverage by Eli Apple, who either tipped the ball free or hit Westbrook-Ikhine just as the pass arrived. And now the Bengals are rolling.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:21 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:21 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

That’s now nine (!) sacks for the Titans. Only once before in the playoffs has a team been sacked at least nine times and won, according to Stathead: The Chiefs, in 1967. So, good luck, Bengals.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:11 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:11 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Huge stuff by Logan Wilson, dropping Henry for -2 on 4th and 1 from the Bengals 35.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:08 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:08 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

According to Stathead, Burrow is the second quarterback to throw for 300+ yards AND be sacked at least seven times in a playoff game. The other instance? Warren Moon, in Houston’s loss to Kansas City, in 1994.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:04 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:04 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

That’s seven sacks for the Titans. Burrow has run more yards backward than forward.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

That was a CRITICAL sack. Knocks Cincinnati out of field-goal range, even for someone who can boom it like McPherson.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

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Credit…Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Titans gave the Bengals a dose of their own medicine. Up 16-9, the Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was picked off by Titans cornerback Amani Hooker with a little over a minute left in the third quarter.

Two plays later, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has been picked off twice so far today, hit receiver A.J. Brown with a touchdown pass to tie the game at 16.

After a stutter step move as he ran to the end zone, Brown turned around and Tannehill’s pass fell right into his left arm. Brown stepped backward into the end zone with two defenders around him.

After looking lost for much of the game, the Titans offense has opened up in the second half.

With the score tied, though, the Titans’ missed two-point attempt earlier in the game may become consequential.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:59 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:59 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Tannehill loops a pass into A.J. Brown’s left arm, and steps backwards into the end zone. Tied at 16-all.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:53 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:53 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Another huge defensive play for Hooker, who saved a TD earlier by tackling Chase.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:47 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:47 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Remember the Titans? Amani Hooker picked off Joe Burrow. But check that — Hooker’s shoestring catch is under review.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Titans’ drive stalls and Tennessee settles for a field goal. Bengals 16, Titans 9 with less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:46 p.m. ET

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Credit…Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Bengals came out firing on the opening drive, scoring a touchdown to push their lead to 16-6.

The Titans looked poised to match them after running back D’onta Foreman ran for a 45-yard gain to push Cincinnati into the red zone.

But on first-and-goal at the Bengals’ 9-yard line, the Titans lost all that momentum as quarterback Ryan Tannehill was picked off for the second time in the game. Cornerback Mike Hilton jumped in front of Tannehill’s pass, tipped it into the air, and hauled the ball in. Tannehill walked off the field shaking his head.

The Bengals were penalized 15 yards for taunting and started their drive deep in their side of the field. The drive fizzled and they were forced to punt. But they drained 1:41 off the clock, never a bad thing when holding a lead.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:42 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:42 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Tannehill connects with A.J. Brown for 40 yards. Bengals cornerback Chidobe Awuzie slipped on the play, leaving Brown unguarded.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:32 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:32 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

The Titans scored fewer than 10 points through three quarters only twice this season — at the Jets in Week 4 and vs. Houston in Week 11. They lost both.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:31 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:31 p.m. ET

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Credit…Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The Bengals finally found the end zone, and now lead the Titans, 16-6, in the third quarter.

To open the second half, quarterback Joe Burrow leaned on running back Joe Mixon, who put together several runs. In between Burrow hit receiver Tee Higgins, who was pushed out of bounds for a gain of 20 yards. Then Mixon again and again.

The Titans managed to sack Burrow for the sixth time in the game — defensive end Jeffrey Simmons this time. But Burrow on third down lunged for a first down to push the Bengals to the Titans’ 16-yard line.

Mixon, who had a career year in 2021, did the rest. With no path through the line, he bounced outside to the left and sprinted into the end zone for Cincinnati’s first touchdown of the game.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:22 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:22 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Bengals are running the ball well, thanks to Joe Mixon. Burrow hits Tee Higgins again, and the Bengals make it back into field goal range and are threatening to score a touchdown.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:25 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:25 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

And the Bengals finally find the end zone. Joe Mixon pulled a Henry — bounced outside and sprinted in untouched. Impressive opening drive. Nine plays, 65 yards, five-and-a-half minutes.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:15 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:15 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Bengals get the ball first in the second half. Let’s see if either offense can get some traction after a messy first half.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:07 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 6:07 p.m. ET

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Credit…Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Bengals-Titans game got off to a fast start: Cincinnati intercepted Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the very first play from scrimmage.

But in a pattern that defined the first half, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked and a once-promising drive ended in a field goal, not a touchdown. Cincinnati kicked three of them, and went into the locker room ahead, 9-6.

The Titans weren’t much better at scoring. Tannehill missed receivers, was sacked, rushed throws, and having running back Derrick Henry back in the lineup didn’t seem to help much.

The Titans did engineer one solid drive, midway through the second quarter. Tannehill connected with his two best receivers, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. On first-and-goal, Henry lined up in the wildcat, took the snap and scored, to the delight of the home crowd that had been calling his name.

Henry and the Titans failed to score on a 2-point attempt, however.

Given all the pressure on Burrow, who was sacked five times — he was the first quarterback since 1999 to be sacked five times in the first half of a playoff game — Cincinnati was lucky to hold a lead. The Bengals were also called for four penalties.

When he had time, Burrow was sharp, hitting Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins for big gains. He was 17-24 passing for 236 yards.

Most everything else induced cringes and groans from the many Bengals fans who made the trip to Nashville.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:48 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:48 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

Burrow got sacked again, forcing the Bengals to kick another field goal, this time from 54. Bengals 9, Titans 6.

sports Oskar Garcia

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:50 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:50 p.m. ET

Oskar Garcia

Evan McPherson led the N.F.L. with nine field goals of at least 50 yards. There’s another.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:34 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:34 p.m. ET

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Credit…John Amis/Associated Press

The Bengals and Titans have the top two most sacked quarterbacks in the league: Joe Burrow of Cincinnati (51) and Ryan Tannehill of Tennessee (47).

In their divisional round battle in Nashville, they have been sacked a combined six times in the first 25 minutes of the game — five by the Titans on Burrow and one by the Bengals on Tannehill.

Tannehill was sacked for a 7-yard loss on third-and-9 on the Titans’ second drive of the game and Burrow has been slammed as Tennessee focuses on Bengals right tackle, Isaiah Prince, who gave up five pressures against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, according to Pro Football Focus.

Both defenses have also had several quarterback hits and successfully defended against the run game.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:32 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:32 p.m. ET

The crowd at Nissan Stadium was shouting “Hen-ry, Hen-ry.” Give the ball to Derrick Henry, the Titans’ star running back, they implored.

The Titans finally obliged. After several completions by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the offense lined up on first-and-goal in the wildcat. Henry took the snap, ran to the left and scored easily.

The Bengals were penalized on the point-after attempt, moving the Titans to the 1-yard line, making it easier to try a 2-point attempt. But Henry fell short of the goal line.

With six minutes left in the first half, the Titans and Bengals are knotted at 6.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:32 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:32 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

I like Vrabel’s aggressiveness there. You take your chances with Derrick Henry from a yard out.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:29 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:29 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Titans, on first and goal, gave the crowd what they wanted: Henry in the wildcat ran it in for a touchdown.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:29 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:29 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Derrick Henry treated the Bengals defense there like they were Fernandina Beach.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:23 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:23 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Good idea, Ryan. Get. The. Ball. To. AJ Brown.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:17 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:17 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

As a deep ball to an open A.J. Brown soars too far, let’s check in on Ryan Tannehill’s success on deep throws this season. His 30 percent completion rate on throws of 20+ yards ranked 25th among the 27 quarterbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. He had more than 42 such passes.

Ryan Tannehill: 4th QB to throw an INT on first play from scrimmage of a playoff game in last 30 seasons

The others:

– Drew Brees in 2018 Div Rd vs PHI (won)

– Aaron Rodgers in 2009 WC Rd at ARI (lost)

– Kurt Warner in 1999 NFC CG vs TB (won & went on to win Super Bowl XXXIV)

— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 22, 2022

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:13 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:13 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

That’s the end of the first quarter in Nashville. Bengals 6, Titans 0. A messy affair. But Burrow has done just enough so far.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:09 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:09 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

The Titans are focusing on Julio Jones. Tannehill just hit him for a big gain. Then he overthrew A.J. Brown, who might have scored if he could have hauled it in.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:07 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:07 p.m. ET

Ken Belson

After another sack, Burrow hit Tee Higgins to set up another Bengals field goal. Cincinnati up 6-0.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:07 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 5:07 p.m. ET

Ben Shpigel

Kristian Fulton, the Titans cornerback Chase just torched, was his teammate at L.S.U. And at Archbishop Rummel HS in New Orleans.

sports Ben Shpigel

Jan. 22, 2022, 4:50 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 4:50 p.m. ET

Image

Credit…Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Two of the 49ers’ best defenders, after leaving last week’s game against Dallas with injuries, will be available on Saturday night. The team announced Friday that star defensive end Nick Bosa, who missed the second half with a concussion, has been cleared to play again. He will join linebacker Fred Warner, who had sprained an ankle, in San Francisco’s stellar front seven.

Coach Kyle Shanahan also said Thursday that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, hampered by a torn ligament in his right thumb and a sprained right shoulder, will be ready.

“And he’s thrown the ball great,” Shanahan said. “He’s looked as good as he did the week before.”

The Packers, benefiting from the first-round bye awarded to the N.F.C.’s top seed, also regained a slew of reinforcements. They activated from injured reserve receiver Randall Cobb, out since late November after undergoing core muscle surgery; linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who hasn’t played since Week 1; and linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who tore his biceps Nov. 14 against Seattle.

The offensive line will regain right tackle Billy Turner, who has missed the last month with a knee injury, and center Josh Myers, who played 32 snaps in the season finale in his first action since injuring his knee in Week 6. Also Cornerback Jaire Alexander (out since Week 4 with a shoulder injury), though listed as questionable before the game, will likely play.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who played 27 snaps in Week 18, his first game since tearing a knee ligament last season, was declared out just before the game, as was receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (back), a top downfield threat who had been doubtful.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 4:46 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 4:46 p.m. ET

The Titans finally got running back Derrick Henry back after more than two months on the injured list, and everyone in Nissan Stadium expected him to get the ball on the team’s first play from scrimmage.

Instead, quarterback Ryan Tannehill attempted a pass to receiver Julio Jones, with disastrous results. Bengals safety Jessie Bates came up with the ball, the game’s first turnover and a golden opportunity for the underdog visitors.

The Bengals took over on the Titans’ 42-yard line. After being sacked on the first play, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow hit running back Joe Mixon, who broke free for a 21-yard gain. The drive stalled, and the Bengals settled for a field goal to put them ahead, 3-0.

But an early lead is better than no lead for the Bengals.

sports Ken Belson

Jan. 22, 2022, 4:15 p.m. ET

Jan. 22, 2022, 4:15 p.m. ET

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Credit…John Amis/Associated Press

Offense tends to make the headlines in the N.F.L., but playoff football games are often won by defenses that can create pressure or clog running lanes. For the Bengals and Titans, their defensive ends have played a big role in the low first-half scoring.

Jeffrey Simmons of the Titans has four tackles through the first half and a highlight sack of Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Late in the second quarter, with Cincinnati facing third-and-16 from Tennessee’s 24-yard line, Simmons chased down Burrow for a 12-yard loss. The Titans settled for a 54-yard field goal on the next play to take a 9-6 lead.

Tennessee’s defense has given up just 7 rushing yards through the first half and has hounded Joe Burrow with eight quarterback hits and five sacks. Along with Simmons, the Titans’ efforts have been led by defensive end Denico Autry, who has three tackles, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.

Simmons has had the best season in his three-year N.F.L. career, notching 8.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 54 tackles, all career highs. He’s a big reason the Titans gave up the second-fewest rushing yards this season, and held opponents to 3.9 yards per carry, also the second fewest.

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