NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Joe Burrow passed for three touchdowns and scrambled 19 yards for a score, and the Cincinnati Bengals rallied to beat the New Orleans Saints 30-26 on Sunday.
Two of Burrow’s touchdown tosses went to Ja’Marr Chase — just like the previous time the pair played in college in the Superdome in a national championship game triumph with LSU.
The second came on a quick pass to the left sideline that Chase turned into a 60-yard, go-ahead score with 1:57 left — a play in which the star receiver spun away from cornerback Bradley Roby before outrunning safety Tyrann Mathieu.
It was a fitting end to a day that began with Burrow walking into the Superdome wearing Chase’s No. 1 LSU jersey, paying homage to the memorable connection he and Chase had the previous time they played in New Orleans. The gesture also foreshadowed what they were about to do in their return.
Chase’s go-ahead score capped a rally in the final four minutes for Cincinnati (3-3), starting with Evan McPherson’s 52-yard field goal that trimmed New Orleans’ lead to 26-24.
The Saints (2-4) failed to get a first down on their next series, and Blake Gillikin’s shanked punt fluttered out of bounds at the Cincinnati 40.
One play later, Chase was racing away from the Saints’ secondary.
It was the Bengals’ first lead, and they made it stand up by stalling New Orleans at midfield on a long, incomplete pass on fourth down. Former Saints cornerback Eli Apple was in coverage on that play, falling down in front of receiver Marquez Callaway as the ball came down near the sideline.
The Saints, and their fans, protested for a pass interference penalty, but no flag was forthcoming.
New Orleans rushed for 228 yards as a team, but ended four drives inside the Cincinnati 20-yard line with Wil Lutz field goals.
Burrow’s other touchdown passes went for 9 yards to Joe Mixon and 15 yards to Chase.
A fumble by Bengals punt returner Trent Taylor set up the game’s opening score. Andrew Dowell stripped the ball free and Adam Trautman recovered for New Orleans at the Cincinnati 32.
Shortly after, Andy Dalton connected with Tre’Quan Smith over the middle for an 18-yard score.
After Mixon’s TD tied it, the Saints regained the lead when undrafted rookie receiver Rashid Shaheed, making his NFL regular-season debut, took an end-around to the right side 44 yards for a touchdown.
Burrow trimmed the Saints’ lead to 17-14 in the second quarter when he ducked out of a near sack and scrambled 19 yards for a score.
Lutz’s second field goal made it 20-14 at halftime.
The Saints kick off in Arizona Thursday night.