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NFL Week 17: Bengals’ snap count distribution shows young players had one last shot to show they belong

Young guys had plenty of chances to show their stuff in the final game of the Bengals’ season.

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

The Bengals’ season is over, and they finished it by also finishing the Ravens’ season.

This was the last chance for a lot of these players to make an impact going into the offseason though. Plenty of young guys got playing time. Some of them showed they deserve an expanded role next year, and some of them will be fighting for roster spots.

Here are the snap count takeaways from the Bengals last game of the season.

Snap count takeaways:

  • A key to the Bengals being successful this year is simple. They usually play close to or more snaps than there opponent on offense, and Sunday was no different for them. The Bengals finished with 79 offensive snaps compared to the Ravens 76. That seems like a bigger deal when you take into account Darqueze Dennard’s long interception return after a long Ravens’ drive. A turnover for a touchdown like that usually has a real effect on the perceived differences in amount of plays run for each team, but even with that the Bengals still ran more plays.
  • Joe Mixon (25) was either held on a snap count after returning from injury, or he was punished for his fumble in the game. Mixon had a huge impact on this game. He had 96 rushing yards on the day. Still, Giovani Bernard (54) held a clear advantage in snaps played. Bernard played well with 70 yards on 16 touches, but you still have to wonder why Mixon wasn’t on the field more.
  • William Jackson (76) played every single defensive snap, and he dominated again. Dre Kirkpatrick (73) and Dennard (37) also played fairly well even though the Ravens didn’t go into three wide receiver sets too often.
  • Josh Shaw (30) replaced Shawn William (46) when the safety left the game with an injury. This is noteworthy because usually Clayton Fejedelem and Shaw would split those reps, but the Bengals had Fejedelem focus on special teams instead. He didn’t log a single defensive snap.
  • Tyler Boyd (60) saved his best for last. The last two weeks he has 10 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. He was instrumental in the Bengals win. Not just only because he caught the game-winning touchdown, but he also helped convert several first downs. He was only the fourth most targeted receiver, but he was by far the most productive.
  • Alex Redmond (32) and Christian Westerman (48) again split reps at left guard with Clint Boling (79) kicking out to left tackle. These young guys again showed they probably should’ve been playing at some point this season before injuries forced them into playing. Hopefully their success late in the season makes the team more comfortable with letting a player like Russell Bodine (79) walk in free agency.
  • Young linebackers really got some run alongside Vincent Rey (67). Jordan Evans (23) suffered an injury early in the game. He was again a mixed bag, but that is what you expect out of a sixth round rookie. Brandon Bell (26) and Hardy Nickerson (67) didn’t do a whole lot to impress. The defense wasn’t great in the second half of the game again. All in all none of the young guys really stood out as a guy who could step up into a starting role next season.
  • Quick observations: Andrew Billings returned to the lineup playing in 31 snaps. Also Alex Erickson didn’t play a single offensive snap again for the second straight game.

Bengals’ snap count distributions vs the Ravens

# Name Position Total Snaps Snap %
# Name Position Total Snaps Snap %
61 Bodine, Russell C 79 100
20 Russell, KeiVarae CB DNP DNP
27 Kirkpatrick, Dre CB 73 96
29 McRae, Tony CB 1 1
21 Dennard, Darqueze CB 37 49
26 Shaw, Josh CB 30 39
22 Jackson, William CB 76 100
90 Johnson, Michael DE 59 78
96 Dunlap, Carlos DE 54 71
94 Smith, Chris DE 12 16
99 Willis, Jordan DE 25 33
97 Atkins, Geno DT 49 64
67 Glasgow, Ryan DT 27 36
75 Billings, Andrew DT 31 41
92 Sims, Pat DT 25 33
68 Josh Tupou DT DNP DNP
66 Hopkins, Trey G 79 100
63 Westerman, Christian G 48 61
62 Redmond, Alex G 32 41
65 Boling, Clint G 79 100
72 Murray, Justin OT -- --
89 Hewitt, Ryan H-B 4 5
82 Carter, Cethan H-B -- --
28 Mixon, Joe HB 25 32
25 Bernard, Giovani HB 54 68
23 Hill, Brian HB -- --
55 Burfict, Vontaze LB DNP DNP
59 Vigil, Nick LB DNP DNP
57 Rey, Vincent LB 67 88
58 Lawson, Carl LB 32 42
56 Nickerson, Hardy LB 67 88
50 Evans, Jordan LB 23 30
73 Winston, Eric OT 73 92
70 Ogbuehi, Cedric OT DNP DNP
5 McCarron, AJ QB -- --
14 Dalton, Andy QB 79 100
36 Williams, Shawn S 46 61
43 Iloka, George S 76 100
42 Fejedelem, Clayton S -- --
40 Wilson, Brandon S -- --
81 Kroft, Tyler TE 78 99
87 Uzomah, C.J. TE 12 15
80 Malone, Josh WR 11 14
18 Green, A.J. WR 75 95
11 LaFell, Brandon WR 75 95
83 Boyd, Tyler WR 60 76
12 Erickson, Alex WR -- --
16 Core, Cody WR -- --
52 Bell, Brandon LB 26 34
39 Williams, Jarveon RB DNP DNP
76 Perkins, Kent OT 6 8