Cincinnati Bengals Grades: Week 15 at Browns

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Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end

Wallace Gilberry

(95) holds down Cleveland Browns quarterback

Johnny Manziel

(2) after a sack during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Safeties: B+
We saw George Iloka early but Reggie Nelson took the staring safety role as he was everywhere on the field. He made big plays breaking up an early guaranteed first down pass to Andrew Hawkins. He had one pass deflection, and four total tackles on the day.

Cornerbacks: A+
Two interceptions, one by Dre Kirkpatrick early and one by Adam Jones late in the first half played a huge role in making Johnny Manziel‘s dream NFL debut a nightmare. They were constantly used on outside rushed and then smothered the Browns receivers keeping Manziel from making many passes.

Linebackers: B+
They were tasked with keeping an eye on Manziel, which they did well and covered the middle shutting down crossing routes. Rey Maualuga had his pass deflection and then a taunting penalty. He then intercepted the ball that was called back on a Wallace Gilberry lined up offsides and it got called back.

Defensive Line: A+
Sacks, containment, and well pressure was the name of the defensive lines game this week against Johnny Manziel. Not only was the execution the best it has been all season. It led to three sacks by Atkins, Thompson, and Dunlap, five tackles for loss, and six hits on the QB.

Special Teams: A
Mike Nugent hit three of three field goals. Kevin Huber only had to punt 2 times and placed one inside of the 20 yard line. They also continuously pinned the Browns deep on kickoffs. They did pretty much exactly what they are suppose to do.

Coaching: A
Hue Jackson should be proud of the ground game. They gained 244 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Andy Dalton made one mistake but didn’t have to do much as in the pass game. The defense seemed to have the Browns offense for lunch and Johnny Manziel was the main entrée. Paul Guenther proved that his defensive scheme can get pressure on the quarterback, which will be key in the next two games.

This Cincinnati Bengals team should be proud of their performance against the Browns this week but they will need to continue what they have done and win out, that will be the only way they can guarantee winning the division. The only issue is the way they have played on the road as of late, I might be tempted to say a wildcard spot might be just what these Bengals need to get a playoff win.