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Titans, Bengals Find First Wins of Season; Raiders Fall to 0-3

Darren Waller pass break-up Titans

Among the surprising takeaways from the first two weeks of the 2022 NFL season were that three AFC playoff contenders — the Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans, and Cincinnati Bengals — all began the year with 0-2 records. One of those teams was guaranteed to get its first win, with the Raiders and Titans facing each other in Week 3, and the Titans hanging on to win 24-22. But the Bengals did their part as well, defeating the New York Jets 27-12, joining Tennessee in moving to 1-2 and starting a climb back towards the upper half of the conference.

It took every second for the Titans to get that debut win of the 2022 season, however. An early dose of power running from Derrick Henry helped the Titans surge to touchdowns on their first three possessions, and the team added a field goal as time expired in the first half. But that was it for the scoring for Tennessee, who had a turnover, failed fourth down play, and a pair of punts in the second half while Vegas’ defense gave it a chance to come back.

Answering the bell was the Titans’ defense, however. After Tennessee scored its third touchdown to begin the game, the Titans’ defense held Vegas to just a pair of field goals across the Raiders’ next six drives. Tennessee’s only slip-up came with less than two minutes remaining in the game, when Derek Carr found Mack Hollins for a Vegas touchdown. Tennessee’s defense still saved the win, however, by forcing an incompletion on a game-tying two-point pass from Carr.

The win keeps Tennessee in contention in the AFC South, which has gotten off to a slow start and famously went winless in Week 1 despite two of the teams playing each other. Vegas, meanwhile, falls to 0-3 in the AFC West, a division viewed as one of the toughest in the league entering 2022.

There were far fewer theatrics in the Bengals’ first victory of the season. While the Jets settled for field goals early, the Bengals put touchdowns on the board, scoring on touchdown passes from Joe Burrow to Samaje Perine and Tyler Boyd.

Cincinnati kicked a field goal on its next drive, and the game was never within one possession again. Burrow connected for a third touchdown, to Ja’Marr Chase, in the second half, while the Jets could only muster another pair of field goals, despite entering the game with momentum after a comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.

Both teams sit in a tie for third in their divisions, New York tied with the New England Patriots and Cincinnati tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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