The Cincinnati Bengals come up short in Week 14, losing 27-19 to the Cleveland Browns.
The Cincnnati Bengals lost to arch rival Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, 27-19 to move to 1-12 on the season. For the Browns, it’s more drama as they hang on to the faintest of playoff hopes. For the Bengals, its more proof 2019 isn’t a mirage, and Andy Dalton isn’t fixing anything.
Worst, the box score would have you think Cincinnati won in Week 14. Dalton was Dalton, and Joe Mixon exploded for a career high in rushing. Short of a pick-6, Dalton had a good game, throwing for 22 of 38, and one interception. For his part, Mixon ran for 146 yards on 23 carries, scoring one touchdown. For those looking for a second week of good feelings and a second win, keep looking, as Week 15 bring the Patriots to town.
Cleveland wasn’t impressive. They haven’t been this season. Despite being remarkably average, they found enough dumb luck to win at home. Baker Mayfield, who has only disappointed in 2019, was not equal to Dalton. Mayfield was 11 of 24, 192 yards, and two interceptions. What the Browns did do was find their rushing game in the second half. Nick Chubb had 15 carries for 106 yards against a bad Bengals defense, reminding fans in Cincinnati that beating the Jets was a one week reprieve from losing.
With three games left in the 2019 campaign, the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft looks all but assured. With the Patriots in Week 15, a road trip to Miami in Week 16, and the Browns at home to close out the season, either Joe Burrow or Chase Young seem all but a lock to be in a Cincinnati uniform this time next season.
The Bengals would struggle again with questionable play calling against the Browns. Cincinnati has their chances, but head coach Zac Taylor found a way to be only a little worse than Freddie Kitchens. Something the NFL Draft won’t fix.