The 2019 Bengals earned their spot as the worst team in the NFL. They managed to only win two games on the year, while seemingly finding as many ways to lose every other week of the season. They lost in blowouts, heartbreaks, squandered comebacks and just flat out bad performances.
However, we aren’t here to talk about those loses that we’d all prefer to forget. We are here to talk about those two sweet wins. There were two weeks where Bengals were able to stand together confused on how to react to the strange lost sensation that is watching your favorite NFL team win on Sunday. Here are those two wins for fans to cast their votes on for which one was the best.
Week 13 Bengals defeat Jets 22-6: This was the first win of Cincinnati’s season, and while it was obviously special for the entire team, Andy Dalton in particular could hold his head up high. Prior to this win, Dalton was benched going into the team’s bye Week a month earlier. We all watched rookie quarterback Ryan Finley struggle to get going for three weeks until Zac Taylor finally made the call to go back to Dalton facing New York in Paul Brown Stadium.
What everyone saw against the Jets was a Bengals team that was determined to get Dalton, Taylor and the team itself their first win of the season. It is a worn out saying that the team that wants it more usually gets the win, but that is exactly what we saw. Cincinnati treated that game like it was a playoff game, where New York thought they could sleepwalk to a victory.
During the three week span with Dalton benched, the Bengals saw drastic improvements from their defense and running game. Both were among the league’s worst prior to the bye week, so when Dalton was reinserted back into the lineup, it made an obvious difference. The quarterback had 243 passing yards and a touchdown that made him the franchise’s all-time leader in that statistic.
The defense held the Jets scoreless after the first half. They routinely disrupted Sam Darnold any chance they could get. Carlos Dunlap himself accounted for three sacks, and Andrew Brown drew a holding penalty in the end zone that resulted in a safety.
This was just a feel good day for the fans and players who really stuck it out for the entire season up until that point. Perhaps it’s a glimpse into what we can expect from Taylor’s team going forward.
Week 17 Bengals defeat Browns 33-23: This was Cincinnati’s only divisional win of the season. It sure did feel good to see the Bengals knock the Browns down a few pegs after all everyone heard this offseason was Cleveland being a Super Bowl contender. It was also fitting to stick it to the Browns after they had swept the Bengals the year prior and essentially embarrassed them by taunting them before during and after the games.
This game was defined by Joe Mixon just being a beast. His 162 rushing yards were the most he had ever rushed for in a single game as a professional. He also was able to reach 1,000 rushing yards for the second straight season (the first time a Bengal running back had accomplished that since Cedric Benson). His most defining play on the game came in the fourth quarter when the Bengals were running a four minute drill only up by seven. He tore off a 28 yard run that put the team in field goal range and bulldozed safety Sheldrick Redwine on his way there.
We also saw Darius Phillips make a case to be more involved at cornerback next season. He picked off two of Baker Mayfield’s passes, but he also got burned on a few plays, which is to be expected from a young player who hasn’t played that much. The defense also combined for six sacks, lead by Dunlap (2.5), Carl Lawson (2) and Sam Hubbard (1.5). That trio was an important piece of Cincinnati turning around the defense in the second half, so it was very appropriate that they showed up here.
Which game was the Bengals best win of the season?
This poll is closed
The Bengals getting their first win against the Jets
The Bengals sticking it to the Browns to finish the season