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Week 13 Game Recap: Denver Broncos 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10


What you need to know

Denver Broncos

Rookie RB Phillip Lindsay just keeps getting better, racking up 157 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in week 13. Brandon McManus missed a 50 yard attempt in the 2nd quarter. The Broncos capitalized on several Cincinnati turnovers. Dymonte Thomas recovered a fumbled punt return in the 2nd quarter, Justin Simmons intercepted Jeff Driskel in the 3rd, and Bradly Chubb recovered a Driskel fumble late in the 4th quarter. Devontae Booker appeared to be the third receiving option behind Sutton and Sanders, as he lined up frequently as a receiver and drew more targets than receivers Patrick and Hamilton. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr broke his lower leg in the 1st half.

Cincinnati Bengals

-The Bengals offensive line either gave up sacks or picked up flags seemingly every other snap, which doomed the offense. The offensive tackles had no chance against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.

-A.J. Green re-injured his foot and looks likely to be lost for the season.

-Joe Mixon ran well but all of the offensive line penalties kept him from being able to build any rhythm.

-Tyler Boyd and C.J. Uzomah continue to play well and should be the top two targets in the passing offense the rest of the way.

Denver Broncos

QB Case Keenum, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 21 - 151 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0
Keenum had to play game manager as the Broncos capitalized on turnovers and Phillip Lindsay's big performance on the ground. Keenum threw just 21 passes, targeting Sutton 7 times and Sanders 6. The highlight of Keenum's day was a touchdown pass to Sutton in the 3rd quarter. Keenum took the snap under center with Janovich and Freeman in the backfield behind him, faking the handoff before hitting Sutton with a jump ball in the end zone for a 30 yard score down. Keenum was sacked twice in the contest, and scrambled twice for 9 yards.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 157 - 2, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets)
Lindsay torched the Bengals defense for over 150 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. Lindsay came out of the gate strong, carrying the ball twice for 10+ yards on the opening drive. Lindsay made a beautiful cut for his first touchdown in the second quarter. He lined up in a single back set with Keenum under center and took the ball off right tackle, cutting back inside when a lane opened up and walking into the end zone untouched. Lindsay took a 3rd quarter pitch play around left end and showed off his wheels as he housed it for a 65 yard touchdown run, leaving most of the secondary in the dust. Lindsay's offensive line did a great job of blocking downfield, and Lindsay wove through the defense with great vision and smooth cutting. Lindsay continued to rip off runs of 10+ yards well into the 4th quarter as the Broncos burned clock with a healthy lead. Backup Freeman carried the ball 12 times while Devontae Booker siphoned off a few targets in the passing game.

Lindsay had one target, an out route that he secured for a short gain at the beginning of the second quarter.

RB Royce Freeman, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 48 - 0
Freeman logged 12 carries behind Phillip Lindsay, who embarrassed the Bengals with his 157 yards 19 carries. Freeman was fairly successful, but did lose a fumble. He entered the game later in the 1st quarter with a tough run right up the middle of the defense. Freeman got hung up on his feet fighting for extra yards and had the ball ripped out of his hands on a 3rd quarter carry, with the Bengals recovering the ball. Freeman was not targeted in the passing game.

RB Devontae Booker, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 2 - 38 - 0 (2 targets)
Booker got to work early, lining up as a wide receiver in multiple positions on the opening drive with Phillip Lindsay in the backfield. Booker shifted to the backfield and got a rare 1st down carry on the same drive, picking up 4 yards. Booker lined up in the right slot and ran a deep comeback route in the 2nd quarter, getting open up the right sideline for a 30 yard gain. He lined up wide right and caught a shallow crossing route on the next play for an 8 yard gain inside the Cincinnati red zone.

RB Andy Janovich, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)
Janovich caught a swing route out of the backfield for a 7 yard gain in the 2nd quarter.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 19 - 0 (6 targets)
Sanders had a disappointing fantasy day as the Broncos rode stud rookie RB Lindsay to victory in week 13. Case Keenum only threw 21 passes total. Sanders drew 6 targets, 1 fewer than Sutton, who had a banner day. Sanders motioned across the formation and converted 3rd and short with a shallow out route on the Broncos opening drive. Keenum found him in traffic on a comeback route in the 2nd quarter and Sanders shook a couple of defenders for a 14 yard gain, his longest of the day. Sanders took a scary hit in the 4th quarter while laying out for a pass down the right sideline. A defender made hard helmet to helmet contact while Sanders was fully extended for the ball. Sanders left the game briefly but did not appear to suffer any injury. Sanders ran an end-around option for a loss that was ruled a pass because it was a forward pitch.

WR Courtland Sutton, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 85 - 1 (7 targets)
Sutton led the team in targets and yards while finding the end zone once. He was finally able to connect on several of the deep jump balls that he and Keenum have been working on all season. Sutton caught a slant route on the Broncos' opening drive. Keenum overthrew Sutton on a deep crossing route on the next drive. Sutton had the receiving highlight of the day with a 30 yard touchdown catch in the 3rd quarter. He lined up wide right and took off on a fly route, making a leaping catch over his defender in the end zone. Sutton had another great catch on a jump ball down the right sideline later in the 3rd quarter. Sutton made a diving catch on a seam route down the left sideline later on in the 4th quarter, then had to leave briefly with a leg injury.

TE Matt LaCosse, 47 offensive snaps (1 targets)
After watching fellow tight ends Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman go down for the season, LaCosse assumed the role of starting tight end with disappointing results. He was targeted just once on a shallow out route that failed to connect.


Cincinnati Bengals

QB Jeff Driskel, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 37 - 236 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0
Driskel threw a miserable interception late, making the awful decision to heave it down the middle of the field into coverage while falling away to avoid pressure. Aside from that mistake, he looked a capable NFL quarterback. In fact, very little blame for the offensive struggle against the Broncos falls on Driskel. For most of the game, he was on time and on target when throwing. He also showed his athleticism on a couple of designed runs. It was surprising the Bengals didnít incorporate more designed quarterback runs. The failure to design a game plan to take advantage of his full skillset is an indictment of the Bengals offensive braintrust. The passing game was completely doomed to failure by the disastrous performance of the Bengals offensive line. When they werenít giving up sacks, they were committing costly penalties. In fact, every single Bengals offensive lineman had drawn at least one flag by midway through the second quarter. Driskel showed a nice arm and solid rapport with Tyler Boyd and CJ Uzomah. He hit Boyd for some big gains down the seams. Driskel also hit Cody Core for a 30-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a post route.

RB Joe Mixon, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 82 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)
Mixon was fantastic and it was a travesty he didnít get more touches and playing time. Part of the issue was how many times penalties put the offense in impossible downs and distances. However, the Bengals coaching staff often put themselves in those spots by trying to pass on early downs when they should have just been riding Mixon. Mixon looked like he was on his way to a big game when he dominated the opening drive, catching a short pass and rushing four times for 40 yards. He ripped off back-to-back gains of 7 and 8 yards on the first two offensive plays. A few plays later, he burst through the line, made a man miss and weaved his way for a 23-yard gain. Mixon had one of the few highlights plays for the Bengals offense on a 9-yard catch and run to pick up a first down. He caught the ball short near the right sideline, made the first man miss and then powered through another tackle attempt to pick up the first down on a play where it looked like he had no chance. Even though the game was close nearly the whole way, Mixon played just 57% of the offensive snaps.

RB Giovani Bernard, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 14 - 0, Rec: 6 - 32 - 0 (8 targets)
Bernard received extended playing time, logging 41% of the snaps. His 13 combined carries and targets was just one fewer than Mixonís total on the day. Bernard wasnít able to do much with his five carries, all of which went for short gains. He did have a long run on a 3rd-and-forever draw that was called back due to a hold. Bernard did make a solid impact as a pass catcher. He lined up in the slot and had a nice catch and run on a short slant route.

WR Tyler Boyd, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 97 - 0 (8 targets)
Boyd continues to play great football. He made a diving grab deep down the seam for a 22-yard gain to setup the Bengals first field goal. He also had a 20-yard gain on a sweet route where he faked inside and pivoted outside and hauled it in along the sideline. A couple plays later, he made a 23-yard diving grab down the seam. On both plays, he got up slowly and looked to be favoring his right side. He left the game briefly but was able to return and finish out the game. With Green lost for the season, Boyd will remain the go-to player for the Bengals passing offense down the stretch. He showed a real chemistry with Jeff Driskel, which bodes well for his ability to remain productive without Andy Dalton in the lineup.

WR John Ross, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)
Ross made it look easy on an 11-yard catch on a comeback route. His deep speed forces cornerbacks to give a big cushion. It was a quiet day for Ross, who was just 5th on the team in targets despite playing 88% of the snaps. He is clearly behind Tyler Boyd, C.J. Uzomah and the running backs in the pecking order for targets.

WR A.J. Green, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)
Green caught a 7-yard dump off over the middle on third-and-long that came nowhere near the first down marker. He came up limping after running a route early in the second quarter. Green likely aggravated the foot injury that kept him out for the past month. It is almost certainly a season-ending injury and may require surgery to fix.

WR Cody Core, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 30 - 1 (4 targets)
Core made an excellent play for a 30-yard touchdown. He caught the ball on a post route 20 yards downfield and then quickly pivoted back towards the outside and stiff-armed the defender to run the final 10 yards into the end zone. Aside from the touchdown, it was the same old struggles for Core. He dropped an easy one that hit him in the hands and wasnít able to hang onto any of his three other targets. With A.J. Green back in the lineup, Auden Tate was inactive. Once Green went down in the second quarter, Core stepped in for him as the third receiver. With Green out moving forward, the Bengals will have more receivers up on game day and Core will have more competition for playing time.

TE C.J. Uzomah, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 33 - 0 (7 targets)
Uzomah continues his strong play. He has the speed to get separation from linebackers trying to cover him and has shown a tremendous ability to go up high and make catches at full extension. On an early gain down the right sideline, Uzomah was able to leap and grab a poorly thrown ball that said on Driskel.