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Week 17 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 31, Baltimore Ravens 27


What you need to know

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals offense established the run early with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard and Dalton found Tyler Kroft for a pair of short touchdowns in the first half. After a long offensive dry spell, Dalton led a 90-yard, game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes with a long 4th-down touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs and sending Buffalo to a Wild Card.

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco had a miserable first half because of drops and misfires. He recovered to move the offense up and down the field in the second half. Mike Wallace got open deep more than once and could have had a huge game if Flacco was accurate with the deep ball. Alex Collins had a fourth down reverse field touchdown to lead the backfield.

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Andy Dalton, 79 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 44 - 222 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0
Dalton played well, taking care of the ball and making clutch throws when needed. The opening drive ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Kroft off of play action. Dalton fit it in perfectly, over the outstretched arms of the linebacker where only a leaping Kroft could get to it. Dalton barely missed some long hookups with A.J. Green, with Green twice failing to get his second foot down inbounds on deep balls down the sideline. It was chemistry with Kroft and Tyler Boyd that keyed the Bengals offense. Kroft made a number of key catches to get the ball into the red zone and then Dalton hit him in the back of the end zone on a broken coverage for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Dalton led a successful two-minute drill offense at the end of the first half to setup a short field goal. With the game on the line, Dalton engineered a game-winning 90-yard drive. The drive was finished off when Dalton fired it into a hole in zone coverage 30 yards downfield to Tyler Boyd, who then cut it outside and raced for a 49-yard touchdown.

RB Joe Mixon, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 96 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)
Mixon set the tone early with strong running. He showed the combination of patience, acceleration and ability to finish powerfully that could make him a special player in future seasons. Mixon did have one big mistake. After breaking through the line for a big gain, he didnít seem to sense the tackler coming from the inside and had the ball ripped loose. Mixon ceded nearly all of the third-down work to Giovani Bernard and the split backfield worked well.

RB Giovani Bernard, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 52 - 0, Rec: 6 - 18 - 0 (9 targets)
Bernard played extensively, rotating in on early downs in place of Mixon and also playing nearly all of the third downs. He often looked like the fastest player on the field, breaking off multiple big runs to the outside. While Mixon has emerged as the lead back, Bernard has performed well enough down the stretch that he should continue to have a big role in the offense going forward.

WR Tyler Boyd, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 91 - 1 (7 targets)
Boyd was the star of the game for the Bengals. He made a pair of tough 3rd-down catches in the first quarter to keep drives going, one on a slant over the middle and another on an out route along the sidelines. The big play for Boyd came with less than a minute left and the Bengals facing 4th-and-12 from midfield. Boyd lined up in the slot and ran straight down the seam, finding a soft spot in the zone. He caught it 30 yards downfield and accelerated to the outside past a safety and into the end zone for the game-winning 49-yard touchdown.

WR A.J. Green, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (10 targets)
After a decent start, it was a miserable day for Green On the opening drive, he caught a 6-yard comeback and drew a pass interference flag in the end zone when Dalton tried to hit him from 20 yards out. He didnít have another catch until the final drive of the game. Green grabbed a deep ball down the left sideline but wasnít able to get his second foot down inbounds. He had another almost identical near-catch on the next drive. It was initially ruled a completion but was overturned after a Baltimore challenge because Green couldnít get the second foot down.

WR Brandon LaFell, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 35 - 0 (4 targets)
LaFell dropped an attempted screen pass that looked like it would have gone for a solid gain. He grabbed a 22-yard pass on an out route down the left sideline. While it wonít show up on the stat sheet, LaFell was key on the game-winning drive, drawing a pair of holding penalties in the final minutes of the game.

TE Tyler Kroft, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 53 - 2 (8 targets)
Scored a 1-yard touchdown off of play action. Dalton threw it high over the arms of the linebacker and Kroft went up and got it. Kroft flashed some surprising run after the catch ability, jump-cutting past a would-be tackler to turn a short pass into a 20-yard gain. A few plays later, Kroft grabbed a 5-yard touchdown catch. He lined up outside, got an inside release and took advantage of a broken coverage to come wide open in the middle of the end zone for an easy pitch and catch touchdown.


Baltimore Ravens

QB Joe Flacco, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 47 - 203 - 2 TD / 1 INT
Flacco led a frustrated offense in the first half, at one point having seven straight drives without a first down. A combination of drops and misgauged deep balls caused the sluggishness. In the second half, Flacco was much better, distributing the ball quickly from the shotgun and spreading it around to his receivers, tight ends, and running backs. A Chris Moore drop led to a long interception return for a touchdown, but Flacco brought the team back to take the lead and had a chance to ice the game late in the fourth quarter, but wasn't close on his final attempt with the lead.

RB Alex Collins, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 78 - 1, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (6 targets)
Collins never got in a rhythm in this game despite two good runs to kick off the game, as the first half offense stalled out with seven straight three and outs. He contributed to the woes with a few drops in the passing game, but more than atoned with a reserve field fourth down run in the red zone to bring the team back within a score. Collins was running just as strong late in the fourth quarter as he was in the first quarter, and he wasn't the reason the team wasn't able to close out this win and go to the playoffs.

RB Danny Woodhead, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 4 - 16 - 0 (6 targets)
Woodhead was just a peripheral part of the offense, catching checkdowns and short passes that didn't have much impact.

RB Javorius Allen, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 37 - 0 (1 targets)
Allen wasn't a big part of the offense. He had an early drop, and later had two long runs, including one as the fullback.

WR Mike Wallace, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 40 - 1 (13 targets)
Wallace had an early drop, but as the first half went on, he was getting open deep and in the intermediate zones with regularity. Flacco underthrew him when he was open deep at least three times, but Wallace kept pushing and had a tough catch on the sidelines that forced him to absorb a huge hit to key a drive. He also had a tough catch in the middle of the field on third down to key a drive, and later caught a touchdown in the front corner of the end zone. He was targeted like a #1 receiver in this game and only Flacco's inaccuracy kept him from having one of the best stat lines of Week 17.

WR Mike Campanaro, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (4 targets)
Campanaro was a small part of the offense, but he was impactful. He had a huge third down catch to get the team into the red zone on one drive, and later converted two first downs to help fuel the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter.

WR Chris Moore, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 1 (3 targets)
Moore had a huge kick return to revive the team right before the half and followed it with a touchdown catch on a quick slant. He later had a drop in the red zone in the second half that was returned for a touchdown and didn't play a big role in the offense after that.

TE Ben Watson, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 61 - 0 (10 targets)
Watson was a steady part of the offense in the short zones, catching most of his targets to keep the team in a manageable down and distance, but he didn't have any impact plays.

TE Nick Boyle, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (3 targets)
Boyle converted a huge third down on the team's field goal drive and later had a target inside the five that he caught, but couldn't put it away for the reception.