Highest-graded Bengals during magical playoff run

Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals will go home trophy-less after a spectacular Cinderella run, but these five players have good reason to keep their heads held high.

The Rams defeated the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI in a game that Cincy nearly had in the bag. They had their chances — they just couldn’t convert.

As the Bengals look to make crucial roster changes this offseason, there are a few players who form the offensive and defensive cores of the team and should be kept at all costs.

Here are the highest-graded Bengals players from the playoffs:

PFF took into account all four playoff games, and the leader of the pack is none other than safety Jessie Bates.

Jessie Bates and Joe Burrow lead Bengals as highest-graded players in the playoffs

Compared to his perhaps more widely known partner in the backfield, Eli Apple, Bates was incredible in the postseason, making at least one game-changing play every game. In four games, Bates recorded 20 total tackles, six passes defended, and two interceptions.

While we’re on the topic of defense, we think Logan Wilson’s and Sam Hubbard’s grades could have been a bit higher. Unless PFF docked Wilson for his holding penalty against the Rams, Wilson should easily be 85-plus given how well he has commanded the defense. He’s an absolute force of a linebacker in player and zone coverage, and the Bengals defense would be lost without him.

Hubbard, too, has served as the engine of Cincy’s pass-rushing unit and has also been ridiculously stout against the run. He helped contain the Rams’ rushing attack to just 23 carries for 43 yards, which is an average of 1.9 yards per carry.

As important as defense was, Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase predictably carried the Bengals’ offense into the Super Bowl. Burrow had to settle for one too many field goals in the championship, but his chemistry with Chase extended into the postseason and gave Cincy hope.

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The Bengals must improve upon their mistakes to become legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2022, but they hopefully have a strong, young core they can rely on for many years ahead.