The Bengals 20-13 victory over the Washington Redskins today gives the team a worst possible record of 2-13-1, forclosing any hope of the club swiping the top spot in next April’s draft from the Detroit Lions. The Lions’ loss to Indianapolis means Detroit can’t finish any better than 2-14, and so will pick ahead of the Bengals no matter what happens.
|2||Kansas City Chiefs||2-12|
|3||St. Louis Rams||2-12|
On the plus side, Jacksonville’s win against Green Bay pushes the Jaguars to five wins, so they’ll select after Cincinnati regardless of the results of the remaining games. The Bengals are now guaranteed to pick no lower than seventh — sixth if Cleveland wins tomorrow night against Philly.
The Bengals’ last two games are against Kansas City and Cleveland, both also competitors for a top-seven pick.
As for today’s game, the Bengals continued their bizarre competitiveness against the NFC East. Cincinnati is 1-2-1 against that division, 1-9 against the rest of the league, and has scored nearly 45% of its total season points against the four NFC East squads. But as in the tie with the Eagles, a lot of the Bengals’ success was due to Washington’s mistakes. The Redskins set Cincy up with an easy score thanks to a fumble on its first drive, and the Bengals got a field goal after a short punt gave them the ball near mid-field. As has been common in the Ryan Fitzpatrick era, they had just one good drive, a 94-yard march fueled by a 79 pass/scamper by Cedric Benson. And they needed — and got — a huge defensive stand to seal the win.
It is notable that the Bengals running game got going this week, with Benson generating 73 yards on 21 carries, and contributing heavily to a late fourth-quarter field goal drive that chewed seven minutes off the clock. Overall, the Bengals managed to generate 17 first downs today and win time of possession, giving their defense a chance when called on to make a stand late.