Here we are at the end of the season. The Bengals defeated the Browns in their last game of the season. That also means this is the last power ranking roundup for the season. At 2-14 it isn’t surprising that Cincinnati is near the bottom of most rankings, but they did move out of the bottom spot in several power rankings. So here is to the team finishing on a high note.
Power ranking roundup for the end of the regular season:
Andy Dalton started what was almost certainly his final game as a member of the Bengals on Sunday. He won, as he did more often than not in his time with the team. His 70-61-2 record in Cincinnati won’t put him in Canton, but it’s certainly commendable when you consider the franchise he’s played for since coming into the league as a second-round pick in 2011. Dalton brought stability and professionalism to the position, and that’s what should -- and likely will -- make him a desirable option for a team in search of a veteran quarterback this offseason. The Bengals, meanwhile, look ahead to a future that will almost certainly include LSU quarterback Joe Burrow as the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Hope is a good thing.
Most notable 2010s event: Lost wild-card game to Steelers, Jan. 9, 2016: The Bengals were on the verge of ending a playoff win drought that started in 1991. But Vontaze Burfict laid out Antonio Brown, Pacman Jones shoved Joey Porter and the Steelers made a field goal with 14 seconds left to close the window on the Bengals’ best chance at postseason success since they lost in Super Bowl XXIII. They haven’t made the playoffs since.
They’ve showed well down the stretch on offense. That’s a good sign for Joe Burrow when he gets there.
After a season filled with nothing but losing, the Cincinnati Bengals entered Week 17 with nothing to lose. Regardless of what happened against their cross-state rivals, the Bengals had already secured the first overall pick in the 2020 draft. Still, in securing a 10-point victory over the Browns in the finale, the Bengals at least gathered a tad of momentum entering what will likely be an eventful offseason. Quarterback Andy Dalton played relatively well against Cleveland, but after spending a good portion of the season as a spectator, he may have started his final game in the Queen City. Just about everyone expects the Bengals to use that first pick on LSU signal-caller Joe Burrow. A lost season for veteran receiver A.J. Green could portend a change in scenery as well. There’s also the matter of the complete overhaul that Cincinnati’s putrid defense so desperately needs.
Given how Joe Mixon played down stretch, this offense might look pretty good with Joe Burrow and healthy A.J. Green in 2020 ... assuming Cincy forks up green for Green.
The Bengals’ current losing streak had reached three when they hosted the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The club stormed back from a 23-point deficit last week in an eventual overtime loss at Miami. The team was down early but took a 14-7 lead and was on its way to its second victory of the season. Running back Joe Mixon enjoyed a big outing, totaling 26 carries for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The much-maligned Cincinnati defense came into the game with only eight interceptions but picked off Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield three times and sacked him on six occasions. The Bengals limited the Cleveland ground attack to only 74 yards by game’s end.
It is encouraging to see the Bengals rewarded for finishing their season on the right note. It is also very apparent on the way some people talk about the Bengals whether they’ve really watched Cincinnati the second half of the season.
One of the biggest is the way this defense is talked about. By no means are they a finished product, but the way they turned things around the second half of the season was extremely noticeable, and they just aren’t that same defense that was the worst in the NFL over the first half of the season.
Either way, this is the end of a long year for power ranking roundups. The Bengals have been near or at the bottom for pretty much every power ranking on their way to 2-14. All we can hope as fans is that 2020 will be a better year for this team.