NFL playoffs: Bengals' Hubbard in 'right place at right time' on 98-yard TD vs. Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard (94) celebrates with quarterback Joe Burrow after a playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI
1 of 5 | Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard (94) celebrates with quarterback Joe Burrow after a playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Defensive end Sam Hubbard provided one of the best plays of the playoffs when he caught a fumble and returned it for a 98-yard score to lead the Cincinnati Bengals past the Baltimore Ravens in a wild-card game.

Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley attempted to run in for a 1-yard touchdown at the start of the sequence Sunday at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson then reached over a pile of players and slammed Huntley's hands into his own helmet as he reached for the goal line.


The ball then shot out of Huntley's hands and went into the backfield, where Hubbard was waiting for the catch. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound pass rusher then sprinted up the right flank for a long touchdown.

"I was at the right place at the right time," Hubbard told reporters after the 24-17 victory. "That's really all it was. Logan Wilson made a hell of a play. The ball fell right in my lap."

The first-round matchup between AFC North division rivals stayed close from the opening whistle, with the Bengals and Ravens each attempting to earn an edge in time of possession.

The Bengals started the game with a 14-play, 54-yard drive. Kicker Evan McPherson ended that possession with a 39-yard field goal.

Bengals linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither intercepted Huntley on the next drive. The Bengals went on to score the game's first touchdown when quarterback Joe Burrow threw a 7-yard pass to Ja'Marr Chase at the start of the second quarter. McPherson missed the extra point and the Bengals held a 9-point edge for the majority of the second quarter.

Huntley threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to running back J.K. Dobbins 4:59 before halftime. Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton forced Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst to fumble about two minutes later. The rookie also recovered the loose ball.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker turned that turnover into points when he made a 22-yard field goal just before halftime for a 10-9 lead at the break.


The Bengals forced the Ravens to punt on their first drive of the second half. Burrow then ended a 12-play, 83-yard drive with a 1-yard rushing score. He followed that score with a short pass to wide receiver Tee Higgins for a successful 2-point conversion.

Huntley threw a 41-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver Demarcus Robinson about five plays later to tie the score at 17-17.

The Ravens then forced the Bengals to punt near the end of the third quarter. Huntley proceeded to lead the offense down to the Bengals 1-yard line, but that long drive ended with Hubbard's long fumble return.

The Bengals and Ravens exchanged possession a few more times down the stretch. The game ended when Huntley launched a deep pass into the left side of the end zone on fourth down in the final seconds. The ball was tipped and nearly landed in James Proche II's hands for a touchdown, but instead fell to the ground for an incompletion.

Huntley, who started in place of injured Ravens star Lamar Jackson, completed 17 of 29 passes for 226 yards, two scores and an interception. He also ran for 54 yards, in addition to his fumble. Dobbins logged 105 yards from scrimmage and a score on 17 touches in the loss.


Burrow completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a score, in addition to his rushing touchdown. Chase totaled a game-high nine catches for 84 yards and a score in the win.

Wilson totaled a game-high 10 combined tackles in addition to his forced fumble.

"That's what it looks like," Burrow said of the win. "When you play a divisional team for the third time, all that matters is coming out with the win.

"It's very satisfying, especially when you play a team like that. They're so good at what they do, and to beat a divisional team for the second time in two weeks is tough."

The Bengals will face the Buffalo Bills in a divisional-round game at 3 p.m. EST Sunday at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. The winner will move on to the AFC Championship game.

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