Washington Redskins 27-27 Cincinnati Bengals: Wembley witnesses a rare NFL tie
PUBLISHED: 14:35 31 October 2016
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Ties in the NFL are very rare, especially as overtime remains essentially sudden-death, but for the second time in three games (the penultimate one of the previous week ended at 6–6) then teams played 75 minutes and could not be separated.
This was the 17th game of the International Series and it witnessed the 100th touchdown and first overtime period, so obviously also the first tie.
It was also one of the better games in the series, with multiple lead changes throughout the afternoon and never more than 10 points between the Cincinnati Bengals (nominally the home team) and Washington Redskins.
There was another fantastic crowd at Wembley, 84,488, and probably 80,000 stayed for the full game – in America, the stadium would probably have been little more than half-full for overtime.
Both teams scored on their opening possession, Washington using up almost half of the opening quarter to go 80 yards before Robert Kelley ran for a four-yard touchdown. The response from Cincinnati was more dynamic, set up by a 65-yard Alex Erickson kick-off return.
Giovani Bernard carried the ball for seven yards into the endzone to level the scores at seven.
After that, defenses took over and there was only one more score in the first half, a 20-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins to give Washington a 10–7 interval break.
The third quarter was easily the best, with three touchdowns. First, Tyler Eifert made an acrobatic catch to complete a 15-yard scoring pass from Andy Dalton. Significantly, Mike Nugent missed the extra point.
However, with five minutes left of the third quarter, Dalton ran in from a yard out to make the score 20–10.
Washington’s response was immediate, a 91-yard drive in 133 seconds, finished off by tight end Jordan Reed who hauled in Kirk Cousins’ 23-yard pass.
And, five minutes into the final quarter, Cousins three a 33-yard scoring pas to Jamison Crowder for the Redskins to regain the lead.
The Bengals then marched 75 yards in six plays to set up Jeremy Hill for a one-yard run. There was a case for Cincinnati to try a play from the two-yard line to get two extra points, but they went for Nugent’s kick, so the score was 27–24 to the Bengals.
Back came the Redskins and when Hopkins kicked his second field goal, with 67 seconds remaining, the scores were level.
In overtime, Washington sacked Dalton who was on the cusp of Nugent’s field goal range and the loss of yardage ruled out a kick to win the game. Instead it was the Redskins who drove into field goal range, only for Hopkins to miss from 36 yards.
A fumble by Dalton gave the Redskins one last chance to win the game. Cousins did set a new franchise record with 56 pass attempts (36 completed for 458 yards with two touchdowns), but could not get into range to give Hopkins the chance for redemption.
Cincinnati’s best receiver AJ Green led the catching stats with nine receptions for 121 yards, but Dalton was not at his best, completing on 27 of 42, for 284 yards and one touchdown.