The Bengals played in their annual playoff loss this Saturday and it was potentially the most heartwrenching loss since they lost to the Steelers in the Wild Card round of the 2005 season, only this time they actually had the game won with less than two minutes remaining. Then, Jeremy Hill fumbled the ball away, giving the Steelers life. Two personal foul penalties from Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones sealed the Bengals' fate as Chris Boswell set up for an easy 35 yard field goal that sent the Steelers ahead for the final score of 18-16. I can sit here and give you a list of players who graded well to say, "hey it wasn't all bad", but no one cares. The fact is, they lost. To the Steelers. Despite a miraculous fourth quarter comeback. Here are the final grades of the season for the Bengals from Pro Football Focus:
- AJ McCarron had the lowest graded game of his short NFL career with a -5.1. When under pressure, he was 7 for 17 for 70 yards, took 3 sacks, and had a passer rating of 53.6 and a PFF passing grade of -1.0. When not under pressure, he was 16 for 24 for 12 yards, a touchdown and a horrible interception, with a passer rating of 78.8, and a PFF passing grade of -3.0.
- Andre Smith, on the other hand, had his highest grade since week 13 of 2013. On 50 pass block snaps, he allowed just 2 hurries, and graded positively in pass protection (+1.5), screen blocking (+0.5), and run blocking (+0.5). His +2.8 grade was the highest grade among offensive players.
- Jeremy Hill had his lowest graded game of his career, with a -3.2 grade. There was his killer fumble, but he also allowed a QB hurry in pass protection. In the run game, outside of his 38 yard run that Will Allen misplayed, he had 12 yards on 11 carries.
- Steelers CB Antwaan Blake was PFF's 2nd lowest graded cornerback in the NFL this year. He was targeted twice while covering A.J. Green and didn't allow a reception and was targeted twice while covering Marvin Jones, and didn't allow a reception. He was targeted once while covering Mohamed Sanu, allowing one reception for 8 yards. He was the highest graded CB in the game on either team.
- Clint Boling allowed only three hurries on 50 pass blocking snaps for a pass protection grade of +0.6. He also earned a +0.9 run blocking grade for a overall grade of +1.7, second highest behind Andre Smith on the offensive line
- Once again, Geno Atkins led the Bengals defense, this time with a +2.9 overall grade. He had one sack, 3 QB hurries, and 4 stops in the run game.
- Vontaze Burfict graded positively in run defense (+0.6), pass rush (+0.5), and had an interception in coverage (-0.2 grade in coverage). His penalty grade (-1.9) resulted in a negative overall grade (-1.0). I think you can guess why.
- Pat Sims shone with a +2.7 grade in 31 snaps. He had a sack, a batted pass, and a stop in the run game.
- Rey Maualuga played well in run defense, earning a +2.5 run defense grade. He made 10 tackles, including one stop. He did have one missed tackle.
- Michael Johnson was the Bengals lowest graded defensive player with a -4.9 overall grade. He only had 3 QB hurries on 34 pass rush snaps, he missed two tackles including one on Antonio Brown's 60 yard catch and run.
- Mike Nugent had touchbacks on 3 of his 4 kickoffs, averaged 73.0 yards per kickoff, and gave the Steelers an average start position of the 18.5 yard line on those kickoffs. He also made his only field goal attempt and had an overall grade of +1.3.
- In 571 pass blocking snaps in 2015, Russell Bodine allowed 3 sacks and 27 QB hurries for a pass blocking efficiency of 95.9. That was 25th out of the 29 qualifying centers this year.