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Bengals Week 13 rookie report: Sam Hubbard rises up sack leaderboard; Darius Phillips gets ‘mossed’

It was Denver’s rookies that stole the show in Cincinnati’s fourth-consecutive defeat, but a couple of the Bengals’ first-year players had their moments as well.

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For the third week in a row, the Bengals got out-shined by the rookies for their opposition. This week, it was the trio consisting of running backs Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman and wide receiver Courtland Sutton who combined for 290 of the Broncos’ 361 total net yards of offense and all three of their touchdowns.

The Bengals managed to stay close for most of this game, but once again fell far short at the end, this time by the score of 24-10. Here is our rookie report for the Bengals in their latest losing effort.

Billy Price

This game probably best depicts who Price is as a player now. He did miss valuable time recovering from his foot injury from earlier in the year, but he’s healthy and should have shaken off the rust by now. But it’s been a back-and-forth battle with Price since he’s returned. In this game alone, for every positive rep he had in pass protection in a one-on-one scenario, he had plays like this to counter that work.

This is more or less the reality with Price right now. He has a good amount of plays that make you confident that he’s going to be pretty good, and then he has plays that remind you of Russell Bodine. Comparing Price to Bodine is not the proper way to evaluate who Price is as a player, and it would be best if we all ceased to do that, but it’s natural to make that connection.

Right now, Price is better, but not to the extent that he’s been worth that 21st overall selection.

Jessie Bates

The momentum for Bates to win Defensive Rookie of the Year has certainly slowed down since the Bengals’ defense descended deeper and deeper into the trash. He’s still playing decent ball but nothing close to his Week 8 performance against the Buccaneers. He finished this game with two tackles and was able to defend this pass early in the game, but wasn’t targeted any other time.

His partner in crime Shawn Williams had another solid game, but Bates had few chances to make his presence known against the Broncos offensive attack. Perhaps Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers will test him more often next week.

Sam Hubbard

After failing to record a sack for from Week 3 to Week 10, Hubbard has notched three sacks in his last five games. He nearly had two in this game thanks to a blown protection, but the one he did manage to get was all thanks to Geno Atkins.

Since Carl Lawson’s season-ending injury, Hubbard has averaged just under 30 snaps per game and had 26 snaps in this game, which matched how much he played last week against the Browns. We can safely assume this is the usage Hubbard will see until season’s end.

Malik Jefferson

If you thought Jefferson was finally going to see the field when it mattered when Vontaze Burfict exited the game, you haven’t been paying attention to this season. Hardy Nickerson of course came in for Burfict (and actually played alright) while Jefferson, once again, watched from the sidelines. Jefferson also played 19 special teams snaps.

Mark Walton

On the last play of the game, Walton finally came onto the field on offense for the first time since Week 10 against the Saints. On a completely meaningless snap, he rushed for 10 yards, making it his longest gain of the season.

Walton is now up to 34 yards on just 14 carries on the year, and in Bill Lazor’s offense, he’s simply not a factor with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard both healthy. If Mixon and Bernard aren’t going to get the appropriate touches they need, then Walton sure isn’t. Walton continued to make solid contributions on special teams with his 14 snaps this week.

Darius Phillips

The Bengals didn’t have any intention on playing Phillips on defense in this game until Dre Kirkpatrick hurt. Phillips took the field for two snaps and had the ball thrown his way on the second snap.

Phillips has been mainly used in the slot in his rookie campaign and has had decent success there, but in college he was a converted receiver who displayed tremendous ball skills for a boundary cornerback. Those ball skills apparently did not register in this specific instance, but it was a great catch by Sutton and Phillips’ coverage was solid up until the catch point.

Phillips returned to the bench after this play as Kirkpatrick was given the green light to return. On special teams, Phillips only played three snaps.

Niles Scott

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Scott has played just two games and nine run snaps for the Bengals and has three tackles, two of them have been stops. He played six snaps total in this game in relief for Andrew Billings at nose tackle and flashed that run-stuffing ability once more.

Billings himself has pretty good this year, but the Bengals may’ve found something in Scott. The sample size is small and the one way to find out for sure is to increase said sample size.

Jordan Franks

The Bengals had three penalties called on them on special teams — Franks was responsible for two of them. He was flagged for a false start right before a Kevin Huber punt and for defensive holding on a zero-yard Alex Erickson punt return.

Franks also had one ball thrown his way on offense — it sailed over his head and resulted in Driskel’s one interception of the game.

It’s safe to say that Franks will just want to move on from this game as quickly as possible.

Did Not Play

Auden Tate

Considering we don’t know when Josh Malone will be fully recovered from his hamstring injury, it’s safe to assume Tate will be asked to dress while Green is on injured reserve until Malone returns. Even then, Tate may’ve done enough to put himself over Malone on the depth chart, but with the way this season has turned out, we’re not getting our hopes up.