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Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports


49ers rebound from losing 14-point lead to win 26-23 overtime thriller over Bengals

Dec 12, 2021 at 4:55 PM


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1st 2nd 3rd 4th OT Tot
SF 3 14 3 0 6 26
CIN 3 3 0 14 3 23

It took everything they had to get it done in the end, but the San Francisco 49ers came out of Cincinnati with a memorable victory Sunday, despite losing a 14-point lead in the second half.

After building a 17-6 first half lead and a 20-6 third quarter lead with the help of a series of unforced errors from the Cincinnati Bengals, the 49ers gave it all up by surrendering two fourth quarter touchdowns that sent the game to overtime tied at 20. The Bengals then added a field goal in overtime before the 49ers drove 75 yards to take the win on a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Garoppolo finished with 296 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-41 passing. Tight end George Kittle had 13 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had 348 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-34 passing in defeat.

First Half

The 49ers started the game with a three-and-out deep in their own territory, which gave the Bengals possession across midfield following the punt. But the Bengals couldn't capitalize on the field position and punted the ball back to the 49ers, who then punted the ball once again after five offensive plays.

The second 49ers' punt of the game led to the Bengals' first significant blunder—a muff from return man Darius Phillips that was recovered by 49ers receiver River Cracraft at the Bengals' 23-yard line. The 49ers had to settle for a 3-0 lead on the possession via a 33-yard field goal from Robbie Gould after being driven back by a third-down holding call on left tackle Trent Williams.


The Bengals answered with a 37-yard field goal from Evan McPherson after an 11-play, 67-yard drive to tie the game at three, but that tie was short-lived thanks in large part to 49ers wide receiver/running back Deebo Samuel. The 49ers drove to the Bengals' 27-yard line in five plays after the kickoff, then Samuel ran around the right end into the end zone to give the 49ers a 10-3 lead.


After a punt from each team, the Bengals took over at their own 37-yard line with 7:48 remaining in the half and put together a 12-play, 53-yard drive (with the help of a 49ers interception by safety Jimmie Ward that was nullified by an illegal hands to the face penalty on rookie cornerback Ambry Thomas) that ended with a 28-yard field goal to cut the 49ers' lead to 10-6. The 49ers took over after the field goal with two timeouts and 1:34 on the clock but only ate up 27 seconds before being forced to punt, giving the Bengals one more chance before halftime.

Or so it seemed.

The Bengals would have taken over with just under a minute to play, but two more colossal mistakes gave the 49ers new life. The first came on the punt, when Phillips committed his second muff of the first half, which was recovered by 49ers' wide receiver Trent Sherfield at the Bengals' 31-yard line. Then, after seemingly being stopped by the Bengals on third down, the 49ers were given yet another chance when Bengals safety Vonn Bell was flagged for taunting. The 49ers then had a 1st-and-10 from the Bengals' 14-yard line with 18 seconds left in the half, which they turned into a touchdown pass to Kittle for a 17-6 halftime lead.


The Bengals outgained the 49ers in the first half (137-128) and had a time of possession edge of 16:06 to 13:54, while the 49ers were 0-for-6 on third down. But the two turnovers and the taunting penalty were the big difference in the first half and led to the ten points that accounted for the deficit at halftime.

Second Half

Momentum stayed with the 49ers as the third quarter got underway. The 49ers held the Bengals to a three-and-out to start the half, then took 5:17 off the clock with a 12-play, 69-yard drive that finished with a 24-yard field goal from Gould to extend the lead to 20-6. The Bengals responded with an 11-play, 47-yard drive that took over six minutes off the clock, but they were unable to cut into the lead when a field goal attempt from McPherson at the end of the drive was no good from 46 yards.

The Bengals finally found some life early in the fourth quarter thanks to a terrific touchdown pass from Burrow to wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase. After forcing the 49ers to punt on the possession following the missed field goal, the Bengals moved inside the 49ers' 20-yard line in five plays, where they faced a 4th-and-5 with just over nine minutes remaining in the game. Burrow evaded the 49ers' pass rush and fired a pass towards the back of the end zone for Chase, who kept his feet in bounds for a touchdown that cut the 49ers' lead to seven.


The Bengals once again forced the 49ers to punt on the next possession, but the 49ers' defense responded in clutch fashion. With the Bengals facing a 3rd-and-5 at their own 49-yard line with 5:32 to play, 49ers nickelback K'Waun Williams came on a blitz and dragged Burrow down for a 14-yard loss.


Burrow and the Bengals were given one more opportunity after the defense held the 49ers in check once again. The Bengals took over at their own 13-yard line with one timeout and 2:40 left to play, but immediately took a step back when Burrow was sacked for an eight-yard loss on first down by defensive end Nick Bosa. Burrow rebounded, however, and led the Bengals on a seven-play, 87-yard drive that was capped by a 32-yard touchdown pass to Chase to tie the game at 20.


The 49ers took over at their own 21-yard line following the touchdown with two time outs 1:15 remaining in the game. They moved to the Bengals' 48-yard line, where they faced a 3rd-and-10 with 20 seconds remaining. Tight end George Kittle made a dazzling catch from there to give the 49ers a first down, but Gould missed wide right from 47 yards out to keep the game tied at the end of regulation.

The Bengals won the toss and quickly took their first lead of the game. Burrow connected with wide receiver Tee Higgins on the first play of the drive for a 26-yard gain, then found tight end C.J. Uzomah later in the drive for a 23-yard gain to the 49ers' 26-yard line. After two runs from running back Joe Mixon, Burrow was sacked by Bosa once again, which forced the Bengals to settle for a 41-yard field goal from McPherson and a 23-20 lead.

The 49ers took over at their own 25-yard line with 6:15 left in overtime. Garoppolo connected with Kittle for an 8-yard gain to start the possession. Then, after Kittle was called for a false start on 2nd-and-2, Garoppolo found wide receiver Jauan Jennings for a 23-yard gain to the Bengals' 47-yard line. Garoppolo then hit Kittle again for a 21-yard gain to the Bengals' 26-yard line, then later, the 49ers faced a 3rd-and-5 from the 21 after short gains from running back JaMycal Hasty and Samuel. Kittle stepped up yet again, this time with a 9-yard catch to the 12 with two minutes left to play.

After returning from the two-minute warning, Garoppolo connected with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who ran towards the end zone and made a leap towards the goal line from inside the 4-yard line. The catch wasn't called a touchdown at first, but was reversed upon replay, giving the 49ers a 26-23 win.


The 49ers (7-6) return home next week for another game with postseason implications, this one against the Atlanta Falcons (4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT, CBS), who moved to 6-7 on Sunday afternoon with a 29-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. The Bengals fell to 7-6 with the loss, missing a chance to move into a first place tie with the 8-5 Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.


SF Team Stats CIN
355 Total Yards 397
255 Passing Yards 311
100 Rushing Yards 86
7.2 Avg Yards per Pass 10.2
4.3 Avg Yards per Run 3.3
0 Fumbles Lost 2
0 Int Thrown 0
5 Sacks Allowed 5
33:50 Time of Pos 34:17
6 Penalties 2

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Jimmy Garoppolo 27/41 296 2 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Jeff Wilson 13 56 4.3 0
Deebo Samuel 8 37 4.6 1
Brandon Aiyuk 1 4 4 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 3 3 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
George Kittle 13 15 151 1
Brandon Aiyuk 6 11 62 1
Jauan Jennings 3 5 46 0
Deebo Samuel 1 1 22 0
JaMycal Hasty 3 3 10 0
Kyle Juszczyk 1 2 5 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Jauan Jennings 1 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Robbie Gould 2 3 33 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 7 41.6 1 50
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
JaMycal Hasty 63 21 0 24
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Brandon Aiyuk 2 2 0 4
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Azeez Al-Shaair 7-3 1 0 0
K'Waun Williams 5-2 1 0 0
Talanoa Hufanga 4-1 0 0 0
Jaquiski Tartt 3-4 0 0 0
Jimmie Ward 3-2 0 0 0
Arik Armstead 3-1 0 0 0
Ambry Thomas 2-4 0 0 0
D.J. Jones 2-2 0 0 0
Josh Norman 2-1 0 0 0
Nick Bosa 2-1 2 0 0
Deommodore Lenoir 2-0 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 2-0 0 0 0
Fred Warner 1-6 0 0 0
Marcell Harris 1-2 0 0 0
Charlie Woerner 1-0 0 0 0
Charles Omenihu 1-0 0 0 0
Kevin Givens 1-0 0 0 0

Bengals Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Joe Burrow 25/34 348 2 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Joe Mixon 18 58 3.2 0
Samaje Perine 4 11 2.8 0
Tyler Boyd 1 8 8 0
Ja'Marr Chase 1 6 6 0
Joe Burrow 2 3 1.5 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Tee Higgins 5 7 114 0
Ja'Marr Chase 5 8 77 2
C.J. Uzomah 4 6 56 0
Tyler Boyd 4 5 55 0
Samaje Perine 4 5 22 0
Drew Sample 1 1 14 0
Joe Mixon 2 2 10 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Darius Phillips 2 2
Joe Burrow 1 0
Tyler Boyd 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Evan McPherson 3 4 41 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Kevin Huber 4 43.3 1 50
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Stanley Morgan 22 11 0 18
Darius Phillips 18 18 0 18
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Darius Phillips 4 5 0 12
Tyler Boyd 1 1 0 1
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Jessie Bates 8-1 0 0 0
Vonn Bell 5-5 0 0 1
Germaine Pratt 4-5 0 0 0
Chidobe Awuzie 4-2 0 0 0
Joe Bachie 3-1 0 0 0
Larry Ogunjobi 3-1 1 0 0
B.J. Hill 3-1 1 0 0
D.J. Reader 3-0 1 0 0
Eli Apple 2-1 0 0 0
Mike Hilton 2-1 0 0 0
Cameron Sample 2-1 0 0 0
Tre Flowers 1-1 0 0 0
Ricardo Allen 1-1 0 0 0
Trayveon Williams 1-0 0 0 0
Mitchell Wilcox 1-0 0 0 0
Josh Tupou 1-0 0 0 0
Drew Sample 1-0 0 0 0
Trey Hendrickson 1-0 1 0 0


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