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Bengals News (12/30): Importance of finishing strong

The Bengals have had a rough couple of years, but could a strong finish to 2020 set them up for success in the offseason and in 2021?

NFL: FEB 27 Scouting Combine Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

How the 2008 Cincinnati Bengals set up a division title winning team in 2009
When Bengals safety Vonn Bell blew up Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for that game-changing fumble a week ago Monday night, Whitworth can be forgiven if he flashed back to a November 2008 primetime game in Pittsburgh when safety Chris Crocker of the 1-8-1 Bengals knocked the helmet off of Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes in a hellacious hit that didn't win the game but set a tone.

Game Preview: Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals | Week 17 | 2020 NFL Season
"Winning two games in a row is really insignificant in the NFL, but it is significant for us right now," said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor. "Just everybody seeing what we've been through, it means a lot to these guys and it's something to build off of. These guys deserve this win for the work they put in. The world doesn't always see it, because on Sundays we haven't always had games go the way we want. But I get to see it the six other days of the week."

Bengals sign safety Trayvon Henderson to the practice squad
Henderson (6-0, 205), a second-year player out of the University of Hawaii, originally was a college free agent signee of the Bengals in 2018. He had spent a majority of this season between the Bengals' practice squad and active roster, before being waived on Saturday. He has played in four games this year (no statistics).

Strong finish by offense just what Bengals need going into 2021
The Bengals, who were winless in their previous 20 road games, took the field without their top quarterback (Joe Burrow), running back (Joe Mixon) or wide receiver (Tyler Boyd). Instead, they didn't even come close to seeing a third down on their game-winning drive. The Bengals scored with almost two minutes to spare in a 37-31 victory over the Houston Texans and put up 540 yards, their fourth-highest game total since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information data.

Brandon Allen Making Case to be Part of Cincinnati Bengals' Future at Quarterback
The Bengals brought Allen in hoping they'd never have to turn to the 28-year-old. He was only there to give them a third option just in case a coronavirus outbreak made it to the quarterback room.

Kings of chill: Ravens rank as NFL’s most dominant team in December
"Finish games, finish plays, finish practices, finish weightlifting sessions, finish meetings, finish conversations, finish press conferences," Harbaugh said. "It’s really just everything. It’s every little thing that leads to the bigger picture, like you say, whether it’s finishing the season or finishing out all the way."

Cincinnati Bengals players who could be part of team one last time
The team remade a big chunk of the roster last year, even spending big in free agency, only to struggle in a big way again. It’s safe to presume more of the same this offseason.

Bengals gamble on Florida TE Kyle Pitts in new 2021 NFL mock draft
That throws most mock drafts for a loop because the Bengals are no longer an easy write-in to draft Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and call it a day.

Cincinnati Bengals' slide in draft position shouldn't be an issue
Most fans of the Cincinnati Bengals have had Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell in stripes for some time now, crowning him as the answer to the team’s offensive line issues. However, two late-season wins now mean Sewell will likely be gone by the time Cincinnati is on the clock when draft day rolls around.

Around the league

Bills WR Stefon Diggs, Saints RB Alvin Kamara among Players of the Week
A wonderful Week 16 of action was bookended by two sterling showings from New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara on Christmas on Friday to Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs on the Monday night finale.

Panthers have interest in ex-Washington QB Dwayne Haskins
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the former Washington first-round pick is receiving interest from several teams, including the Carolina Panthers, per a source informed of the situation.

RB Index, Week 17: Six running backs who've earned new contracts
Time is running out for players to raise their profile in the 2020 campaign, but some guys have already done the necessary work -- during the week and on Sundays -- to merit new money after this season. Here are six running backs who have earned new contracts, with five of them playing on deals that will expire this coming offseason:

George Kittle supports Jimmy Garoppolo's return as 49ers' starter in 2021
"At the end of the day, I play tight end here, and I just work here, but I think that I do have a little bit of a voice, and I've said multiple times that I just love playing football with Jimmy G," Kittle said on KNBR Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "Our team is different when he's out there, and that's why it's fun to play football with him because I think we both have big-time changes to our huddles when we're both on the football field.