For 55 minutes, the Battle of Ohio appeared to look like a scrimmage between a Varsity squad and their Junior Varsity underclassmen. The Bengals were out-classed in every phase for the entire game, and the grace of a couple positive plays brought the score to a one-possession deficit, which the game concluded at.
A few players ended up deserving recognition for their efforts, but as usual, there were more problems than stars for Cincinnati. Here are the winners and losers from the Bengals’ 26-18 defeat to the Browns:
C.J. Uzomah: Without Tyler Boyd in the lineup, Uzomah became the leading receiver for the offense. Once you look at the box score and that distinction equating to four receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown on five targets, then you realize how awful this game was for Jeff Driskel and Co. and how much they miss Boyd.
Cody Core gets an honorable mention here with his 36 yards on two receptions and a two-point conversion late in the game.
Clayton Fejedelem: The Bengals’ Pro Bowl alternate for special teams had himself a day today. In the first quarter, he snuck a fake punt up the middle to convert a fourth down, validating the recognition he received earlier in the month.
Randy Bullock: Anytime Bullock hits a field goal from at least 50 yards, it should be celebrated. Bullock’s 51-yard field ties his season-long and he’s now 2-5 on the season from 50+.
Alex Redmond and Bobby Hart: In the first half, there wasn’t a worse duo of right guard and right tackle playing in the NFL at that time. Things started to improve for the two as the game dwindled to garbage time, but both Redmond and Hart looked like they didn’t belong on the field, which will ultimately highlight their disappointing seasons.
Shawn Williams: The Bengals’ defense as a unit had a disastrous day with ball skills, and Williams was the poster child of failing to find the ball. The safety gave up a big play down the field with Jarvis Landry throwing a perfect long ball, and then he allowed a touchdown to David Njoku. Both times, Williams had good coverage but just failed to finish, which made the difference in the end.
Andrew Billings: Browns’ running back Nick Chubb had himself another good outing against the Bengals’ defense, and partly because the Bengals’ nose tackle Andrew Billings failed to make an impact. Billings was consistently flushed out of the point of attack, and struggled constantly with getting off blocks. He finished with just one assisted tackle.
Nick Vigil: On a day where Vontaze Burfict played and got hurt again and with Hardy Nickerson starting, Vigil looked the worst at linebacker. The third-year starter had four solo tackles on the afternoon, but continued to take bad angles and allowed himself to get swallowed up in the run game. This has been a recurring theme for Vigil since he returned from injury earlier this season.
Vontaze Burfict: Speaking of Burfict, he continues to seemingly not care about what he does when he dresses for a game. Burfict exited the game just after the two-minute warning in the first half when he took a hard hit that triggered his concussion he was recovering from and was forced to exit the field. When reaching the sidelines, Burfict aggressively swiped away athletic trainer Paul Sparling’s hand and ran to the locker room shortly afterwards.
Burfict has done nothing this season to warrant his continued employment with the team, and if his concussion keeps him out for next week, this will be the lasting image with him for this season, which is not great.