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Bengals News (12/30): Closing things out right

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The Bengals sent off the 2019 season with a win with the uncertainty of the offseason ahead of them.

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Bengals Kids Starting To Flex
That’s what it looks like for the Bengals as they head into the offseason staring at the No. 1 pick with Sunday’s jaunty 33-23 victory at drip-dry Paul Brown Stadium fueled by running back Joe Mixon’s youthful exuberance and his merry band of youngsters that made the Browns look a bit old and tired after Cleveland ended one of the most disappointing seasons in pro sports of late.

News conference transcript: Zac Taylor and Andy Dalton meet with the media after the Week 17 game against Cleveland.
“(I’m) really pleased with the performance of our guys today. This really was the game we’ve been expecting — we’ve been waiting — to play all year. When you hear me say, ‘I’ve enjoyed our preparation, I’ve liked our preparation leading up to games and the mentality of our players,’ that’s what it has looked like every game of the season — we just hadn’t put it all together (up to this point). So today was a really good job (by us) of putting all three phrases together, and helping us earn a victory in a divisional game (and) a home game.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton awaits his future after a Week 17 victory over the Browns
After head coach Zac Taylor’s first division win and after he had handed out games balls to running back Joe Mixon and cornerback Darius Phillips, Dalton made sure he said good win to the person who cares about beating the Browns the most. So he pulled aside Bengals president Mike Brown as he walked through the locker room.

Locker Room Celebration Following The Win Over The Browns
Go inside the locker room immediately after the Bengals' victory over the Cleveland Browns to close the 2019 season.

Running back Joe Mixon led the Bengals with 162 rushing yards in a 33-23 win over the Cleveland Browns.
If Sunday was supposed to be a swan song for some of his teammates, running back Joe Mixon showed what he’s got in store for Bengaldom next season. For the second time in three weeks Mixon hammered the Browns for a career-high as his 162 yards on 26 carries gave the Bengals a 33-23 victory in the season finale at Paul Brown Stadium.

Bengals jump out to a 20-16 halftime lead over the Cleveland Browns.
While Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton spiced what could be his swan song with a scrambling touchdown and his 204th career touchdown pass in between a steady rain that was sometimes driving, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield completed just six of 15 passes in the face of a stiff Bengals pass rush that sacked him twice. But his completions went for 193 yards (one more than what he had for the game three weeks ago in Cleveland) and that included book-end bombs opening and closing the half’s scoring.

2020 NFL draft order - First-round picks from 1-32, date and location
The order for the top 20 picks of the 2020 NFL draft is set, with the 2-14 Cincinnati Bengals, who had the league's worst record, picking No. 1. Could they choose top quarterback prospect Joe Burrow?

NFL mock draft 2020: Dolphins, Panthers get Bengals' QB leftovers; Cowboys, Raiders find new stars; Redskins, Lions go defense | Sporting News
With the 2020 NFL Draft order being settled and with bowl games in full swing, it's becoming a little easier to project what teams are positioned to take the best prospects on the board, before we dive into the four-month process of evaluation ahead of the first round April 23. There have been plenty of showcase games for the top available talent, highlighted by the College Football Playoff semifinals.

2020 NFL Draft: Bengals team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch for Cincinnati
The Zac Taylor era for the Cincinnati Bengals started rather horribly, but with a young coach in tow and the most glaring need to rebuild in quite some time, Mike Brown's franchise is set up to start from the ground floor this offseason with LSU quarterback Joe Burrow at the top of the 2020 NFL Draft. But, of course, a stud quarterback isn't all Cincinnati needs. Fortunately, the Bengals have a pick in each round, and this class is deep at offensive tackle and receiver.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton: “I want to be a starter in this league"
If Dalton did take his final snaps in a Bengals uniform in Sunday’s 33-23 win against the Browns, he finished off a nine-year career here as the franchise leader in touchdown passes, pass completions, 300-yard passing games and game-winning drives.

Bengals QB Andy Dalton unsure of his future in Cincinnati
With his helmet exchanged for a backward black ball cap, quarterback Andy Dalton ran off the field and into the tunnel, perhaps for the last time in a Bengals uniform. During his postgame news conference, Dalton acknowledged it could have been his final snaps with the franchise.

Instant analysis after Bengals whip Browns to end season on high note
Settling for a 2-14 record isn’t ideal, but it sure doesn’t hurt to finish the year with some momentum over an in-state rival before marching to the 2020 draft with the first selection.

Around the League

Browns fire Freddie Kitchens after just one season
"We thank Freddie for his hard work and commitment to this organization but did not see the success or opportunities for improvement to move forward with him as our head coach," owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. "Our focus is on hiring an exceptional leader for this football team and we will take a comprehensive approach to this process. We are excited about the core players we have to build around and develop and we look forward to bringing in a strong head coach that will put this group of players in the best position to succeed."

Jerry Jones: No 'shareable timeline' for Garrett move
We don't know for certain whether Garrett will be retained or fired, and we're not certain when a decision will be made, as owner Jerry Jones opted not to reveal such information Sunday. Jones declined to comment on any decisions regarding Cowboys coaches or players and added he doesn't have a "shareable timetable" for when he might decide on Garrett's fate.

Ron Rivera emerges as top candidate for Redskins
NFL Network's Michael Silver added that a source familiar with the Redskins' search believes that D.C. is Rivera's first choice of jobs, and that the Monday meeting is a strong sign that the the two sides are progressing toward a deal.

NFL announces dates, times for playoff games
The San Francisco 49ers' 26-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks gave Kyle Shanahan's team the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, while Pete Carroll's bunch slipped to the fifth spot and will face the Philadelphia Eagles during Wild Card Weekend on Jan. 5.