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Bengals News (12/16): Pass rushers put on a show

The Bengals pass rushers may have answered some questions about where the team should go in the draft.

New England Patriots v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Patriots Find A Way Despite Mixon's Big Day
Joe Mixon was good Sunday. Very good. Good enough to dust off Cedric Benson’s 282 rushing yards in consecutive games from the last two games of the 2008 season and match it with a 136-yard effort against the best defense and defensive mind in football. Good enough that even as Patriots head Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady clinched their 11th straight post-season berth with a 34-13 victory at Paul Brown Stadium, they saluted the Bengals MVP.

News conference transcript: Zac Taylor and Andy Dalton meet with the media discussing Week 15 against the New England Patriots.
“Yeah, Andy had four picks. Three of them were against man-to-man coverage, one-on-ones. We got bullied... we did. Guys could go compete, knock the ball down, go get a one-on-one. I think Gilmore (Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore) had what, two of them? Ok. So their guys went and competed. They have a tough secondary. They play man-on-man coverage, and Gilmore’s one of the best in the league. We saw what that looks like today. The quarterback’s going take all of the blame for it, when in reality he taking some one-on-one opportunities that we had to take to be in that game, and go make some plays. You’re counting on some guys to get some separation and go compete, and they got the better of us on a lot of those.”

Quick Hits: It was only the second time in the Andy Dalton era the Bengals committed five turnovers in a game.
For just the second time in quarterback Andy Dalton’s 131 starts the Bengals turned over the ball five times in Sunday’s 34-13 loss to the Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium. The only time before that came in the 2017 opener, a 20-0 loss to the Ravens in which he threw four interceptions and that’s what happened to the top-ranked New England defense.

The Bengals fell to the New England Patriots 34-13 in Week 15
But then the Patriots do what they do and fry you in your own mistakes. In the next nine minutes they forced three turnovers and turned them into 17 points for a 27-10 lead during a 34-13 victory before a stunned gathering that had watched the Bengals take a 10-7 lead late into the first half behind the dominant play of Bengals running back Joe Mixon.

Bengals trail the New England Patriots 13-10 at halftime
You knew the Bengals and Patriots couldn’t get out of the first half without some sort of controversy as the Patriots took a 13-10 halftime lead on Nick Folk’s 46-yard field goal with five seconds left. And it happened when New England forced a disputed fumble on an Alex Erickson punt return with 1:30 left in the game that was recovered in front of an enraged Cincinnati bench at the Bengals 23.

Bengals will dress four receivers and four tight ends against the Patriots in Week 15.
With A.J. Green inactive again, head coach Zac Taylor deactivated rookie wide receiver Damion Willis and went with Tyler Boyd, Alex Erickson and rookie Stanley Morgan, Jr. He also sat two offensive linemen in John Jerry and Isaiah Prince while back-up rookie right tackle Fred Johnson has served as the extra man in some O-line alignments lately. Billy Price is the other backup on the list of seven active offensive linemen. It all points to a busy day for Bengals running back Joe Mixon, leading the NFL in carries the past five weeks with 105.

Zac Taylor - Bengals' wide receivers 'got bullied' in loss to Pats
In turn, Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd, who was targeted on two of those interceptions, was critical of the game plan and scheme against New England. Boyd, who finished with three catches for 26 yards, said the method of attack wasn't "top-notch" like it normally is. When asked to elaborate, Boyd was blunt.

Patriots' footage of Bengals' sideline aired on TV
The Patriots acknowledged their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline during the Bengals' Dec. 8 game against the Cleveland Browns and accepted full responsibility. The crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video for a Patriots web series called "Do Your Job" on an advance scout for the team, but the Patriots did not inform the Bengals nor the NFL, which they called "an unintended oversight."

Bengals' pass rushers proving Bengals should use potential top pick on a QB
As the Bengals look toward 2020 and beyond, they need young edge rushers Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson to aid veterans Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins in the pursuit of opposing quarterbacks.

Heisman winner Joe Burrow reacts after receiving a Bengals helmet from former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason
After winning the Heisman in New York City on Saturday, Burrow decided to continue his Big Apple tour on Sunday with a visit to the set of "The NFL Today." Although Burrow isn't in the NFL just yet, he'll definitely be in the league come April, when he's expected to be the top pick in the 2020 draft.

Bengals-Patriots 5th Quarter: Game balls; coaching grade; 3 takeaways; key stats and more
Welcome to the Bengals Fifth Quarter where I provide my analysis of Sunday's 34-13 Bengals loss to the New England Patriots before a crowd announced at 57,066 in Paul Browns Stadium (here is a link to the story with game details and video highlights filed as soon as the game concluded that also includes video/tweet highlights):

NFL Week 15 grades: Bengals get a 'D' as they 'Bungle for Joe Burrow
Less than 24 hours after Joe Burrow won the Heisman, Dalton basically rolled out the red carpet for the LSU quarterback with a four-interception performance that killed any chances the Bengals had of possibly upsetting the Patriots. And as crazy as it sounds, an upset wasn't completely out of the question with the New England leading just 13-10 at halftime.

NFL salary cap: How much money will Bengals have to spend in 2020?
That’s up from $188.2 million, which means another staggering jump from a cap that back in 2015 was only in the $143 million range. Another $8-13 million jump just shows the continued growth of the league and means free agents and extensions just got more expensive across the board to compensate for the extra cashflow.

Around the league

Producer: No plan to give footage to Pats football ops
"On December 8th I was doing what I have done for more than 18 years -- working to produce high quality content that tells the unique, behind-the-scenes stories of people, players and the organization," David Mondillo said in a statement. "It never occurred to me that my actions and the actions of my crew would be misconstrued.

What we learned from Sunday's Week 15 games
The NFC no longer goes through San Francisco. The 49ers (11-3) still have the conference's best record but aren't even leading their division. That distinction belongs to the Seahawks given the head-to-head tiebreaker. Both teams clinched playoff berths Sunday thanks to a Rams loss. San Francisco, which hosts the Rams next week, will have to win in Seattle in Week 17 to have any chance of regaining its footing atop the NFC West, much less the NFC. The 49ers have lost three of six and are currently the fifth seed in the conference, which would mean their postseason run begins on the road. They've lost just once outside of Levi's this season and are back in the playoffs for the first time in six years. But to not host a playoff game would be bittersweet after beginning the season 8-0.

Packers, Seahawks, 49ers clinch berths with Rams loss
Seattle will return to the postseason for the second straight season and the eighth time in the Pete Carroll era. In their first season under coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers are back in the dance after a two-year hiatus. San Francisco has had to wait even longer for a return to January football; the Niners will be in the postseason this year for the first time since 2013 and the first time under coach Kyle Shanahan.

Von Miller frustrated as Broncos eliminated once again
"I don't know how we got to this point," Denver pass rusher Von Miller said following the defeat that mathematically eliminated the Broncos, via 9News' Mike Klis. "It's tough being where we're at. It's tough being 30 years old and go out there with whatever issues I'm dealing with and still coming up so short."