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Week 14 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 19, Cleveland Browns 27


What you need to know

Cincinnati Bengals

-The Bengals moved the ball well but red zone struggles and a couple mistakes by Andy Dalton cost the game.

-Joe Mixon had his best game of the year. The Bengals are finding ways to get him to the edge and he has been taking advantage. He also made some nice plays after the catch.

-Auden Tate injured his MCL early in the 3rd-quarter and is feared to be lost for the season.

-John Ross returned after a 10-week absence and made little impact, though his role should increase down the stretch due to the Tate injury

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland didnít play particularly well but a matchup against a poor Cincinnati team allowed them to pull off the win anyway. The Browns were saved by a well-timed Denzel Ward pick six, which was one of the few positives in an otherwise ugly first quarter. Baker Mayfield completed his first three passes but then really struggled with his accuracy after that. He threw two interceptions and appeared to have thrown a third in the fourth quarter but it was negated by a defensive pass interference penalty.

Cincinnati Bengals

QB Andy Dalton, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 38 - 262 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0
Dalton marched the team down the field on the opening possession, firing a pair of strikes to Tyler Boyd for pickups of 21 and then 14 yards. With a 3rd-and-3 at the Browns 6-yard line, Dalton had plenty of time but after nobody was open initially, he panicked in the pocket and threw one out of the back of end zone with nobody in the vicinity, drawing an intentional grounding penalty. Dalton made a couple more costly mistakes in the first half. After a Joe Mixon penalty put the team into a 3rd-and-23 on the second drive of the game, Dalton threw it slightly behind Auden Tate. It bounced off of his hands and straight into the hands of a Browns cornerback who took it the other way for a touchdown. In the two-minute drill before halftime, Dalton had Alex Erickson wide open down the left sideline for what should have been a 40-yard gain but he sailed the ball too far outside and Erickson couldnít come down with it inbounds. Dalton nearly threw another pick six on a goal line pass that a Browns defender undercut but couldnít hold on to. On a 4th-and-goal, Dalton tucked and ran and came up two yards short of the end zone.

RB Joe Mixon, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 146 - 1, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (4 targets)
Mixon had 26 touches despite playing just 44 snaps (59%) and had his best game of the season. His first carry of the game, he was able to bounce it outside and accelerated down the sideline for a 26-yard gain. He ran over a defender near the end of the run. Mixon caught an 8-yard pass after a nice hesitation move, taking the ball down to the Cleveland 6-yard line. Mixon got to the outside again on his second carry, taking a pitch for 12 yards. He has been playing with an edge in recent weeks that has helped spark the offense, but Mixon went too far and was hit with a 15-yard penalty in the first quarter when he got into the face of a defender and gave him a little head butt. The mistake put the Bengals into a 3rd-and-long and Andy Dalton promptly threw a pick six. Mixon sat out the next series. He came back in and caught a 24-yard pass after a play action fake that left him wide open along the left sideline. The Bengals went with a spread, shotgun set on 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Mixon took the hand off and walked into the end zone through a big hole up the middle. Mixon showed nice patience to allow his blockers time to get outside on an 8-yard catch and run on a screen pass. Mixon wasnít able to come up with the deep pass on a wheel route 30 yards downfield. It looked like he might have been interfered with but he didnít get the flag. Mixon caught a swing pass, made the first defender miss and picked up nine yards. He was excellent as a receiver in this ballgame. Mixon got to the edge to pick up 7 yards and was knocked out of bounds just a couple yards short of the end zone and inches from the line to gain for a first down. It looked like he got a bad spot. Two plays later on 4th-and-1 he dove low to pick up the first down at the 2-yard line. Mixon had a couple big runs to get the Bengals to a 1st-and-goal but was stuffed twice on carries inside the ten yard line.

RB Giovani Bernard, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 15 - 0, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (3 targets)
After a stupid penalty by Joe Mixon, Bernard got a series to himself. He opened the drive with a strong run off of right tackle for a 16-yard gain. He was able to stay on his feet despite a defender on his back for a few extra yards at the end of the run. The next play, he caught a 26-yard pass on a trick play. The Bengals handed it to Tyler Boyd heading left, he pitched it to Alex Erickson, who found Bernard all alone down the right sideline for the long pickup.

WR Tyler Boyd, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 5 - 75 - 0 (6 targets)
Boyd made a pair of nice grabs away from his body in traffic on the opening drive for gains of 21 and 14 yards. He made another pretty grab reaching high and snagging it on the run for a 16-yard gain on a slant later in the first quarter. In the red zone, Boyd found a soft spot in the zone and stopped, caught the pass from Dalton and turned upfield, diving for the end zone. He came up a yard short but picked up 16 on the play. Boyd had a quiet second half but did gain seven yards on a third-down slant to pick up a first down.

WR Alex Erickson, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 26 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (7 targets)
Erickson led all Bengals receivers in snaps (80%). He threw for 26 yards on a trick play. The Bengals handed off to Tyler Boyd, who pitched it back to Erickson going the other direction. Erickson then threw a strike to Giovani Bernard for a big gain. Erickson caught a slant over the middle for a 6-yard gain on 3rd-and-5, holding on despite taking a shot to his ribs. After fly motion behind the line, Erickson caught a short swing pass and did a great job to find a seam and push forward through initial contact for a 12-yard gain. Erickson was wide open deep down the sideline and Dalton sailed it over his head out of bounds. It was eerily similar to a play a few weeks ago on which Ryan Finley missed a wide-open Erickson on a similar play.

WR John Ross, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (3 targets)
Ross was activated off of injured reserve and saw his first action since Week 4, playing 51% of the snaps in his return. Many of those snaps came in the second half after Auden Tate was injured. He had a short gain on a comeback route. Ross was flagged for a holding penalty downfield on a long Joe Mixon run that cost the Bengals nearly 30 yards. Ross has a 24-yard catch in garbage time. He was wide open on a crossing route after his defender tripped.

WR Auden Tate, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)
Dalton threw it behind Tate on an in-breaking route and Tate tried to dive backwards to make a highlight-reel catch but it went off of his hands and into the hands of Browns cornerback Denzel Ward, who picked it off and ran it back for a touchdown. Tate made another costly mistake on a blindside block that drew a flag. He made his lone catch on the day over the middle of the field for a 16-yard gain early in the third quarter. He tried to make a move after the catch but was dragged down by the ankle from behind. The tackle led to an MCL injury that will likely sideline him for the final three weeks of the season.

TE Tyler Eifert, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 0 (4 targets)
Eifert played 47% of the snaps, his most since Week 8. He picked up 15 yards on a meaningless play against prevent defense in the seconds before halftime. He had a pair of catches on a garbage time drive in the final minute of the game, as well.


Cleveland Browns

QB Baker Mayfield, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 24 - 192 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 13 - 1
Mayfield got off to a positive start, completing his first three passes and looking accurate with the ball. He tried to get Odell Beckham Jr. involved early, completing an 18-yard pass to the wideout on his first pass attempt. He then connected with Jarvis Landry for a 17-yard gain where he split three defenders. Mayfield then appeared to have a about a 10-yard completion to David Njoku but the tight end had the ball ripped out of his hands while he was on his back on the ground. The play was called an interception on a questionable ruling. Mayfield threw another interception on his second offensive drive, this time throwing too high for KhaDarel Hodge on a deep attempt. The ball tipped off Hodgeís fingertips and into a defenderís hands. In the second quarter Mayfield completed a clutch 20-yard pass to Jarvis Landry on a third-and-19. Mayfield capped that drive off with a seven-yard touchdown run where he found the edge on the left and dove over the goal line by the pylon from about two yards out. On the ensuing drive, it looked as though Mayfield had connected with Beckham for about a 36-yard gain but Cincinnati challenged the catch and it was ruled that Beckhamís second foot landed out of bounds. He went back to Beckham on the next pass but threw too high. Beckham was hit on the leaping attempt and the ball was jarred loose. Mayfield was not asked to pass much in the second half with Cleveland sitting on a lead and running often. He did target David Njoku on an end zone fade from the Cincinnati three-yard line but Njoku was only able to get one hand on the pass. Mayfield had a third interception negated in the fourth quarter when the officials called a defensive pass interference penalty on the Bengals.

RB Nick Chubb, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 106 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)
Chubb got off to a slow start despite running against a struggling Bengals run defense. He had just one carry, a three-yard gain, in the first quarter as the Browns had two drives cut short by interceptions. Chubb got a bit more involved in the second quarter, however. He had an eight-yard catch nullified by an illegal shift penalty. He then saw a red zone carry from the Cincinnati 10-yard line, gaining three yards on the run. In the third quarter, Chubb really got going. He ripped off a seven-yard run where he dragged a defender. He followed that up with an impressive 57-yard gain down to the Cincinnati three-yard line. He broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage, stiff-armed another defender away and relied upon several cutbacks to weave his way down the field. He was getting a breather on the sidelines when Kareem Hunt cashed in the three-yard touchdown run on the following play. On the second drive of the third, Chubb ripped off two separate 11-yard gains, running right through an arm tackle on the first and employing a nice cutback on the second. Chubb caught his only pass in the fourth quarter, taking a short screen for an 11-yard gain.

RB Kareem Hunt, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 28 - 1, Rec: 2 - 40 - 0 (3 targets)
Hunt continues carve out a role as a breather back for Nick Chubb and as Clevelandís No. 3 option in the passing game behind Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham, Jr. Hunt ripped off a few long gains in the Week 14 win. On his second touch of the game, Hunt caught a short screen and galloped down the left sideline for a 29-yard pickup. He broke a tackle and carried another Cincinnati defender along the way. He was credited with a target in the red zone at the end of that drive but it was more of a throw-away out of bounds by Baker Mayfield. Hunt found the end zone to cap off Clevelandís first drive of the third quarter. From the Cincinnati three-yard line, he bounced his run outside to the left and raced into the end zone untouched. On the following drive, Hunt pulled in an 11-yard reception on a nice grab.

WR Jarvis Landry, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (7 targets)
Landry led the team in receiving and made a few big plays along the way. On the teamís first drive, he made a one-handed catch for a five-yard gain. He followed that up with a 17-yard catch on a pass slightly behind him where he reached back for the ball. In the second quarter, Landry saw a pass deep down the middle of the field but the pass was broken up by the defense. He bounced back, making a clutch, 20-yard catch on third-and-19 to give the Browns a fresh set of downs. He jumped for the ball and held on while absorbing a big hit on the catch. In the fourth quarter, Landry looked to have a 25-yard reception near the right sideline. The play was ruled a catch but was overturned on a Cincinnati challenge. The replay showed that the ball moved slightly in his hands as he was headed out of bounds. Landryís final catch was an impressive play as he caught a ball behind the line of scrimmage and rumbled forward for a 34-yard gain. He employed a slick spin move to evade a tackler on the long gain.

WR Odell Beckham, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (5 targets)
It looked like Beckham was going to have a big game as he caught Baker Mayfieldís first pass attempt for an 18-yard gain. On the second drive, he was the target on a pass tipped by a defender in the secondary. There was originally a pass interference flag thrown on the play but the officials picked it up after seeing that the pass was tipped. Beckhamís second (and only other) catch came on the first drive of the second quarter. He got wide open and pulled in a 21-yard reception. It appeared that he had another long gain on the ensuing drive. Beckham caught what looked to be about a 36-yard catch on his fingertips as he was going out of bounds. The play was initially ruled a catch but was overturned after a Cincinnati challenge. He saw another target on that same drive. This time the ball was thrown a bit high. He leapt up to make the catch which gave defenders time to close in and hit him as the ball got there. It jarred the pass loose, resulting in an incompletion. Mayfield could have delivered a more accurate pass in that spot. In the fourth quarter, Beckham drew a defensive pass interference flag on a short pass to the left.

TE David Njoku, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets)
Njoku saw his first game action since fracturing his wrist during Week 2 of the season. He was quiet, catching just a four-yard pass on the game. He was involved in an odd play in the first quarter, however. He appeared to have pulled in about a 10-yard grab. He fell backwards and linebacker Nick Vigil ripped the ball loose while Njoku was on the ground. The play was initially ruled a fumble and later changed to an interception, charged to Baker Mayfield. The replay showed that it looked like a catch and that Njoku should have been down by contact but the officials did not agree. Njoku drew an end zone target from the Cincinnati three-yard line in the third quarter. After some hand fighting with the defender, Njoku was able to get one hand on the ball but could not haul in the pass.