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4 winners and 1 loser from Bengals’ season-ending win over Ravens

Cincinnati ends the season at 6-9-1 after suffocating Baltimore to kick off 2017.

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Bengals ended their season in style with a solid win over the Ravens.

Here is a look at our winners and losers from the game, essentially a stock report for this final matchup of the season, the Bengals’ sixth win over the Ravens in their last seven matchups.


Rex Burkhead

This was the game we’ve all been waiting to see from Rex Burkhead. The fourth-year running back finally got his chance as the starting running back, and he did not disappoint.

Burkhead dazzled the Ravens’ stout front seven with an onslaught of solid chunk plays for four quarters. He rarely broke off anything more than a 5-6-yard gain, but even that keeps the sticks moving when you’re not getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage, something that’s killed this offense in 2016 with Jeremy Hill’s boom-or-bust running style.

Unfortunately, this may be the final time we see Burkhead in stripes. Once he hits free agency, you can bet a number of teams will be lining up to give him a decent contract while also giving him the chance to start, something he was never given in Cincinnati until today.

Burkhead averaged 4.4 yards per carry and had two touchdowns. He totaled 119 yards rushing and also added 25 yards receiving. Hill had only two 100+ yard rushing games this season, both of which came against the Browns. Against the Ravens in Week 12, Hill had 21 yards rushing. That further highlights just how nice Burkhead’s game in Week 17 was.

C.J. Uzomah

With Tyler Eifert and Tyler Kroft being injured in recent weeks, C.J. Uzomah has stepped up and made an impact in the passing game. We already knew Uzomah is the best blocking tight end this team has, which helped spring Burkhead’s big day against Baltimore.

But Uzomah managed to reach the end zone for the first time in his career, thanks to a one-yard score in the first quarter. That put the Bengals up 14-3 and firmly in control of the game, something they would not relinquish.

With Eifert facing another long offseason of rehabbing his back surgery, Uzomah could spend another offseason as the No. 1 tight end in OTAs.

Nick Vigil

With Vontaze Burfict out and Vincent Rey banged up, Nick Vigil saw a lot of playing time against Baltimore. He responded with his best game as a pro, and he helped limit the Ravens to just three points through the first 51 minutes.

Vigil’s fourth-and-goal pass deflection in the third quarter helped to prevent a Ravens score. He also chipped in four tackles and gave the Bengals reason to remain high on him next season.

KeiVarae Russell

The Bengals finally gave KeiVarae Russell a chance in limited snaps against Baltimore, and he turned in his first career interception in the process. Russell has rarely seen the field this year, only getting in on special teams before today, but the Bengals finally gave him some defensive snaps in the second half of this blowout.

On Baltimore’s final offensive drive, Russell made a nice diving interception off of Ryan Mallett to seal the 27-9 win. This is a great way for Russell to go into the offseason as he looks to earn a bigger role with the team next year.


Ken Zampese

This game should have been a blowout after the offense got off to another hot start, but once again, Ken Zampese’s unit folded as the game wore on. The Bengals scored 14 points in the first quarter, six more in the second quarter, but nothing after that until when Baltimore was stopped on fourth down at their own 25-yard line.

Zampese’s game-plans have fizzled out far too often this season, despite consistently getting off to fast starts and putting up lots of yards, but failing to put up points. If Zampese is calling plays again next year, it’s hard to see this offense being much better, even when A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert are back (their injuries will be the excuse made to bring Zampese back).

All said, this was a great way to finish the season for the Bengals. Hopefully this helps build momentum toward a bounceback season in 2017.

The Bengals are now 1-0 in the 2017 calendar year.