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Bengals rookie report: Joe Mixon returns with a vengeance; Brandon Bell plays emergency snaps

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A couple of undrafted free agents came in as emergency starters in a last second win in Baltimore.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


  • Joe Mixon 25 snaps on offense
  • Jordan Willis 25 snaps on defense; eight snaps on special teams
  • Carl Lawson 32 snaps on defense; five snaps on special teams
  • Josh Malone 11 snaps on offense; one snap on offense
  • Ryan Glasgow 27 snaps on defense; 16 snaps on special teams
  • Jordan Evans 23 snaps on defense; seven snaps on special teams
  • Brian Hill 28 snaps on special teams
  • Hardy Nickerson 67 snaps on defense; 21 snaps on special teams
  • Cethan Carter 28 snaps on special teams
  • Brandon Wilson 24 snaps on special teams
  • Brandon Bell 26 on defense; 26 snaps on special teams
  • Kent Perkins Six snaps on offense


  • Josh Tupou (healthy scratch)
  • Jarveon Williams (healthy scratch)

Joe Mixon

What a difference 16 weeks makes. Way back in Week 1, the Ravens held Mixon to nine yards on eight carries in his debut that ended in a shutout. In his first full game since November, Mixon put up 96 rushing yards on 18 carries on a typically stout Ravens front seven that was fighting for its playoff life.

After accounting for the offense’s first 52 yards last week before exiting the game with an ankle injury, Mixon was questionable to play all week. As a game-time decision, Mixon was given the green light and his ankle looked completely fine.

Playing behind a rotation of Christian Westerman and Alex Redmond at left guard and Clint Boling at left tackle for the second week in a row and Eric Winston at right tackle, Mixon’s first level blocking was at its best all year. This was the eighth game where Mixon had at least 10 carries and it was the first where he had no negative runs.

Jordan Evans and Hardy Nickerson

In another contest riddled with injuries, Evans’ 2017 season was ended about two quarters too soon. On a routine chase-down tackle on tight end Benjamin Watson, Evans landed on his shoulder after bringing down Watson and immediately grasped it in pain.

Bengals Radio analyst and local hype man Dave Lapham knew the injury was bad because in his one career tackle, he experienced the same incident, as he said after the play on the broadcast. Evans left the game, but not before he made the best play of his season:

Nickerson started at MIKE again and finished with a season high of seven tackles, though only one was a stuff. He was picked on in coverage a handful of times in his 35 defensive snaps, which has been a problem for both him and Evans all year.

Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson

Lawson out-snapped Willis for the second week in a row, but it was Willis who made a bigger impact on Sunday. Willis tied with Pat Sims for the most stuffs (a tackle made that stopped the offense from achieving 40% or more of the yardage necessary to convert a first down or that stopped a third down conversion) on the defensive line with three. This tied his season high when he had three against Houston.

Lawson was stifled by Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley for the entire game, as quarterback Joe Flacco was kept clean for all but one dropback. The second half of the season as a whole has been less impressive than the first for the fourth-round pick, but he still managed to hold off Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt as the rookie sack leader at eight.

Josh Malone and Ryan Glasgow

The other two fourth rounders closed out their season with familiar performances of their own. Malone’s playing time has slowly decreased as Tyler Boyd has been having a little late season resurgence of his own. He was on the field 11 times and didn’t see a ball come his way.

Glasgow had another solid game in the run defense department, recording two stuffs, with one being a tackle for loss.

The Rest

Two undrafted rookies came into the game as a result of injuries to thin positions. Offensive tackle Kent Perkins came in for six snaps at right tackle when Eric Winston’s ankle rolled under him, and Brandon Bell was used for 26 snaps at linebacker when Vincent Rey went out with a back injury.

Both players were the very last options at both positions, as the Bengals were down to two tackles and two linebackers at separate moments in the game. It was the first time Perkins was on the active roster and his first snaps of his career.

Like it’s been all season, Carter was a leader in special teams snaps, as neither him, nor Brandon Wilson and Brian Hill saw any snaps from scrimmage in a close game throughout its entirety.

Coming soon I’ll drop a season for all the rookies who’ve played this year.