Sam Hubbard’s Heroic Run: An epic, game-changing playoff moment in Anatomy of the Bengals

Sam Hubbard’s Heroic Run: An epic, game-changing playoff moment in Anatomy of the Bengals

CINCINNATI – 120 plays will be run Sunday night in the AFC wild-card game the crows and flares, there is only one that everyone will remember. Not just tomorrow, or a year from now, not even a decade from now.

We’ve been talking forever.

Sam Hubbard98-yard return for a touchdown – the longest such play NFL Postseason history – will live on as details, emotions and video evidence are passed down like family heirlooms.

Where were you on the night of January 15, 2023, “Wham, scram, thank you, Sam?”

For the 66,399 inside Paycor Stadium – and the hundreds of thousands who will claim they were there – watching the Bengals linebacker. Logan Wilson Release the ball from the Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley On third down from the 1-yard line and Hubbard, a Cincinnati native and team captain, the 98-yard rumble in the 24-17 victory will be taken not only as something they saw, but as something they experienced. .

So why wait five or 10 years to crack the oral history of what will go down as one of the most iconic plays in Bengali history? Let’s go because the memories are still fresh or, in the case of the Ravens, raw.

It was third-and-goal from 1 yard out to tie the game at 17-17 with 11:54 left. Huntley, starting from injury Lamar Jacksonhe tried to jump over the pile of bodies and try to spread the ball over the goal line as a teammate Patrick Ricard and Mark Andrews he pushed from behind. But the Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt He stopped Huntley’s progress, and Wilson batted the ball with both hands into Hubbard’s veiny arms.

Pratt: “Once they got into that formation, me and Logan were like, ‘sneak, sneak, sneak.’

Wilson: “I knew it was a cunning formation. I knew there was room. I don’t remember the exact yard line he was on, but he was at least a foot and a half from the goal line, so I knew there would be time before he was able to get to the ball. across the goal line. I jumped and made a play and punched the ball.”

Hubbard: “Logan is smarter than me. I was trying to get some penetration and get a stop because that’s what our defense does. We step and claw and try to defend every yard as best we can.’

Ravens coach John Harbaugh: “Bults-sneak is a play. It was not executed properly. Tyler overflowed – that’s Burrow’s play. Little should go into it…it’s the way the play is designed. We thought it was the best call, but we didn’t execute it well.”

Playing defense Zach Carter: “I hit my guy, and I saw Huntley go up with the ball and I was like, ‘No, he scored.’ Then I hear the crowd cheering, and I don’t know what’s going on. I look up and I see Sam take off.”

Defensive Forward DJ Reader: “I just heard our people, so I knew it was something good for us.”

Attacker BJ Hill: “Hearing that roar was incredible. I look forward to hearing from you next Sunday when our fans travel to Buffalo.”

the center Ted Karras: “I thought we were going to be down 24-17. They were at 1. It was unbelievable. It was one of the most unbelievable things I’ve ever seen.’

As soon as Hubbard plucked the ball out of the air, he took off running toward the north end. Three of his 10 teammates who were on the field with him for the fateful play escorted him down the field – linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither and Marcus Bailey and security Vonn Bell. The Ravens’ only player was Andrews. Bell fumbled at the 50, and Bailey threw it to the ground 30 yards from the end zone.

Hubbard: “I was playing football. It fell in my hands, and you go.”

Bailey: “Sam was probably 5-10 feet on top of me when I started taking off. I caught it again, leveled it. I saw Mark Andrews running on the right side of my vision. He did a good job weaving around it. He probably would have made the play if I hadn’t gotten the hand. I thought I pushed it to the side. Raising my hands was just to make sure I didn’t have any bad intentions to push the judges from behind.

Wide receiver Tyler Boyd: “I had a little feeling at the beginning that he was going to catch it. But there were too many blockers to catch up with him, and it was just a thrill to see that. That’s something you see in ‘Madden’ or something. For him to achieve that, he deserves it, because he is Mr. Cincinnati.’

Coach Zac Taylor: “(I was) yelling at those people to block somebody. It looked like Mark Andrews was going to get away and we had a whole caravan of people. That’s what was going through my head: ‘Run faster’.”

Quarterback Joe Burrow: “Run faster, Sam! There! It actually looked pretty quick, surprisingly.”

Hubbard: “I was looking at the Jumbotron. I’ve never really been in that situation, but it’s a good feeling. I could see why the offensive guys liked him. I said, ‘(Andrews) is coming, somebody blocked him. Please don’t get caught.’ That’s all I was thinking.”

Wilson: “He was gassing.”

Hill: “I really like to see my teammates make plays. I was very happy with him. He ran for 98 yards. I might get to 20, if that’s the case.’


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Defensive end cam sample: “When I saw Logan hit me, I ended up falling. Me and DJ stood in the opposite door line, ‘Go, Sam. Run, Sam run.’ It took a minute, but it arrived.’

Hubbard: “They saw me take off and the D-linemen didn’t come after me. “You got it.” It was fun.”

Reader: “Sam had the wheels to finish. That’s amazing. You see a lot of people come in who don’t run. It was a big thing to immediately turn into points.”

Defensive end Trey Hendrickson: “Unbelievable play. A game changer. The guy is all effort, all the time. The guy does 100 mph every day. I am very proud of him”.

Hubbard’s big game may never have happened if it wasn’t for the hustle of another teammate, and the key plays of a couple others. Three plays before the fumble return, Huntley went long and looked like he would score, but safety Jessie Bates hit the goal line and sacked him at the 2-yard line.

On first-and-goal from the 2, Sample got a piece of a Huntley pass to an open Ricard at the flat, forcing him to fall incomplete. On second and goal from the 2, Bell and Pratt stood up to the Baltimore running back Gus Edwards 1, setting up Hubbard’s heroics.

running back Joe Mixon: “Jessie made a tremendous play. These are plays that often go unnoticed. But Jessie was in a rush to go find him. I’m glad he caught it and it came out the way it did.”

The corner Cam Taylor-Britt: “I was running across the field. If Jessie didn’t make it, I was very close. But that was a great play by Jessie.”

Hubbard: “I don’t know how many times we’ve been in that situation, where somebody’s put him on the floor, and we leaned over, to get a turnover or to (hold) three points. You don’t want to be that guy who gave in and let him in and gave him something for free. You always want to be that guy that gave us another chance and let somebody else make a play, and that’s our mentality. It’s nothing new for us or Jessie. He has done it so many times before.’

Carter: “Give us a blade of grass to defend. Give us an inch, a yard, whatever. That’s what happened. Jessie gave us an inch or a yard, and we halted. That’s what we do. Cleaning crews.

After Hubbard scored, everyone had something to say. But all he could think about was getting some oxygen and getting back on the field for the next defensive series. Even if people don’t remember what they said, there will be a record of it all.

Hubbard: “I was on the microphone, so we’ll see. (My) first microphone game”.

Taylor Britt: “I said, ‘Good job.’ That’s how you act, man.’ We needed a play, and they were the ones who made it, Logan and him.”

Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase: “I said, ‘You looked fast’. Even though I was lying. It was a nice moment.”

Boyd: “What did I tell him? I said, ‘Levels. High levels That was good. That’s what we needed. That won us the game.”

Taylor: “I couldn’t find it. I think Sam was the last one I found. I congratulate everyone.”

Hubbard couldn’t remember what he was told, but he will never forget the experience. The Bengals then had to make three more defensive stops to hold on for the victory, including defending a Hail Mary that slipped off the hands of Ravens receiver James Proche on the final play of the game. But as has been the case all season, the defense did the job. And after Taylor and Burrow took turns in the press room, Hubbard sat on the podium for nearly 15 minutes, answering all the questions and enjoying the moment.

“You can’t repeat a feeling like that in life,” he said. “It’s really special. You can’t even dream of that. It’s pretty special. But I was glad to see the faces of my teammates because that was bad. It was a hard fought game. Lots of adversity, very physical. It’s an amazing feeling to make the play and be the guy that’s going to come. Not only for my teammates, but also for the fans.”

(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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