For much of Sunday night, the defending AFC champions, the Cincinnati Bengals, were barely holding their own. Despite backup quarterback Tyler Huntley starting for the hated Baltimore Ravens, this AFC Wild Card Game matchup was all knotted up at 17 points apiece near the end of the third quarter.
But fortune finally smiled in the Bengals’ favor on a Tyler Huntley QB sneak. As the Ravens’ backup signal-caller tried to reach over the line, Cincinnati’s Logan Wilson punched the ball out of Huntley’s hands right into the arms of Sam Hubbard. The defensive end proceeded to take the ball for a 98-yard fumble return touchdown going the other way, giving the Bengals an eventual 24-17 lead when they needed it most. (Oh, and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews came so close to catching him.)
In the wildest playoff potential 14-point swing and twist, Hubbard’s score is the longest fumble-return TD in NFL postseason history:
Oh. My. God. Tyler Huntley fumbles trying to go over the goal-line and Sam Hubbard takes it back the other way 98 yards for a Bengals TD.
A 14-point swing.pic.twitter.com/5J88HykccP
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) January 16, 2023
I don’t … know that I’ve ever seen a defensive player score a touchdown like that? Let alone in the postseason? Will I stop writing question marks? I don’t know? I’m so astounded by this late-game turn of events!
The Bengals were on the ropes for three quarters against an injury-depleted rival. Hubbard’s wild touchdown morphed those dire circumstances into a big-time playoff win for the reigning conference champions.
NFL fans were dumbfounded by Sam Hubbard's 98-yard scoop-and-score fumble TD
Sam Hubbard with the longest fumble return TD in NFL Playoff history. INSANE. pic.twitter.com/k36EPBNyLL
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) January 16, 2023
My goodness that couldn't have landed more perfectly in Sam Hubbard's hands https://t.co/bktGGa0SU3
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) January 16, 2023
SAM HUBBARD 98-YARD FUMBLE RETURN TD DOTS pic.twitter.com/pyGIiKOp4M
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) January 16, 2023
Get Sam Hubbard some oxygen.
He can have mine I don’t need it.
— Andrew Russell (@Andrew_Russell7) January 16, 2023
People forget that Sam Hubbard played lacrosse
— Joe Keegan (@joekeegs) January 16, 2023
Sam Hubbard The Ohio State University
— Brodie (@MHJBiletnikoff) January 16, 2023
Who knew Sam Hubbard had wheels 😂 pic.twitter.com/67S2hWREaj
— Josh Dorsey (@J_Dorsey3) January 16, 2023
Sam Hubbard with a 98 yard fumble return TD- longest in postseason history. 💀💀💀
— McNeil (@Reflog_18) January 16, 2023