The Niners' 11-game winning streak at their home stadium was hammered home by the Bengals' coaching staff ahead of Sunday's game. And Cincinnati took great pride in ending that streak with a 31-17 victory.
"They want to hear that this team's won 11 in a row at home," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after the game. "Because someone's got to beat them and it's going to be us, you know?
"So I think that's just kind the edge that these guys play with. They want that information to fuel them and they responded how I assumed that they would."
Cincinnati padded a notable streak of its own. After a slow start, the Bengals (4-3) have won three straight games and moved over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Quarterback Joe Burrow, who struggled to start the year, also had one of the best games of his career. He was 28-of-32 passing for 283 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Burrow's 87.5 completion percentage was a new career high, besting a 2021 performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he completed 83.3% of his attempts. At one point, he had 19 straight completions, one shy of the franchise record set by Ken Anderson during the 1982 season.
But the aspect he was most excited about was the way he was able to use his legs. One of the big plays in the game came in the first quarter when Burrow slipped out of multiple defenders while in the pocket, scrambled to his right and found wide receiver Tee Higgins to convert a third-and-10. It displayed the difference in Burrow in recent weeks after he spent the beginning of the season managing a right calf injury he sustained on the second day of training camp.
"Athleticism, acceleration, explosiveness was really a big focus of mine in the offseason," said Burrow, who also had six carries for 43 yards. "I just haven't really been able to show that too much. So it was nice to have that hard work pay off."
Cincinnati's defense also played a key role in ending San Francisco's home-winning streak. The Bengals forced three turnovers in the second half -- a fumble and interceptions by linebackers Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson.
"They deserve more national recognition," said defensive end Sam Hubbard. "Hopefully, as they continue to perform well, they're going to get that."
Pratt and his teammates seemed plenty content with how the Bengals played on the road. Pratt was a rookie when the 49ers dominated Cincinnati in 2019 and racked up 571 total yards in a 41-17 win. Four years later, Pratt talked about how sweet it was to "take over" San Francisco's home stadium as Cincinnati completed a season sweep over the NFC West.
The veteran linebacker said the road victory shows the Bengals' mindset in the performance after the team's bye week.
"We're in the second phase of the season," Pratt said.