Bengals seek first road playoff win in franchise history

Cincinnati is 0-7 in road playoff games

The Cincinnati Bengals have made two Super Bowls in their 53 complete years as a franchise, but they have never won a road playoff game. They’re hoping that changes Saturday when they head to Nashville to play the top-seeded Titans in an AFC divisional game.

Cincinnati played at home throughout the 1981 and 1988 playoffs then lost in the Super Bowl both times at neutral sites. The Bengals are 0-7 in road playoff games.

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Just like the Bengals tried to downplay the weight of the 31-year playoff win drought last week, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said a chance to check off another accomplishment with a road win hasn’t been part of the conversation.

“It’s just about the Tennessee Titans,” Taylor said Tuesday. “We’ve been a really strong road team this year; we’ve taken a lot of pride in that and having a good routine on the road and guys stepping up and doing what we need to do. We enjoy going into hostile environments. We’ll keep our message to ourselves, but I think our guys are cranked up and ready to go for Saturday.”

Tennessee is 7-2 at home this season and Cincinnati is 5-3 on the road, 5-2 excluding the finale at Cleveland when the regular starters rested.

PFWA recognizes Burrow, Uzomah

The Cincinnati Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America unanimously voted to name quarterback Joe Burrow as the Bengals’ 2021 Most Valuable Player, while tight end C.J. Uzomah was an easy choice as the recipient of the annual Media Cooperation award.

Burrow, the No. 1 draft pick in 2020, led the Bengals to an AFC North title this season and was the top-graded quarterback in the conference, according to Pro Football Focus, while leading the league in yards per attempt (8.9) and completion percentage (70.4). He also set a franchise record with 4,611 passing yards and 34 touchdowns during the regular season.

This marks his first MVP honor. Safety Jessie Bates was the winner last year, wide receiver Tyler Boyd was recognized in 2019 and Joe Mixon earned the honor in 2018.

Uzomah, in his seventh season, is the 21st recipient of the PFWA’s Media Cooperation award, formerly known as “The Good Guy Award,” given for professionalism and respect working with media and understanding the media’s role in covering the team.

No other players on the current roster have ever earned “The Good Guy Award,” which went to former running back Giovani Bernard last year and quarterback Andy Dalton in 2019.

Injury updates

Taylor said defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi will undergo surgery on the foot he injured in the third quarter of Saturday’s win over the Raiders and is out for the season. He described Ogunjobi as someone that “laid it all out there” for the team and said he was really happy to have him this season, but now it’s time for the next guy to step up. Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal in free agency after playing four years with the Browns.

The defensive line will miss Ogunjobi, but things are looking slightly more positive for two of the other injury concerns in that position group. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson is “progressing through the concussion protocol in a positive manner,” Taylor said Tuesday, and backup defensive tackle Josh Tupou returned to practice Tuesday after suffering knee injury in Week 17 vs. the Chiefs.

Defensive tackle B.J. Hill could see an increased role with Ogunjobi out, and it’s a well-earned opportunity as he continues to add to the interior line’s pass rush. He has 5.5 sacks this season, including one last week on the Raiders’ final drive.

“Another tough player who gives us some juice,” defensive tackle D.J. Reader said. “He does his role. He goes in there and anything we ask BJ to do to, he does a good job at it. I enjoy being in the room with him. He brings some life. He’s funny in our room. He’s brought a lot to our team. It meant a lot for him to come in and play the way he did as a humble player and go out there and do his thing.”

Roster moves

The Bengals on Tuesday released guard Xavier Su’a-Filo. Su’a-filo was activated from injured reserve Monday after suffering a knee injury in Week 2. He started seven games in two seasons with the Bengals.

They signed Miami RedHawks product Doug Costin, a defensive tackle, to the practice squad. Costin, a second-year player, was a college free agent signee of the Jaguars in 2020. He played in 13 games (nine starts) with the Jags. The Bengals released rookie punter Drue Chrisman (Ohio State) and long snapper Colin Holba from the practice squad.

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