The Cincinnati Bengals clearly were not invested in putting all their effort into winning this game, as the AFC North Championship was claimed last week with a win over the Chiefs.
The Cleveland Browns clearly wanted to end the season on a high note, even without quarterback Baker Mayfield after he opted to have shoulder surgery that he was putting off, and Nick Chubb who had very limited carries.
Despite all of that, this game still had plenty for fans to talk about and ended up being much closer than it really should have, considering the situation.
Ja’Marr Chase did what he said he was going to do
Before the season started, Chase mentioned in an interview that he was going to break all the records the Bengals had. He broke Chad Johnson’s record for yards in a game last week against the Chiefs. This week he broke his record for yards in a season after a few plays to start the game.
Ja’Marr Chase gets the Bengals single season franchise receiving record on a screen up the right sideline.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) January 9, 2022
He’s staying in the game, and he got a nice reception in the huddle.
Looked like Chase said "How much more?" to his sideline after that catch and run.— Goodbrrrrr (@JoeGoodberry) January 9, 2022
Rough outing for offensive line and Brandon Allen
The one real thing that could be taken away from this game is that Cincinnati clearly needs to address their offensive line, its depth and possibly their backup quarterback spot. It was ugly most of the game watching Allen get hit early and often before finding a nice rhythm late in the game. Some of those hits were missed assignments, but some were Allen missing reads. The offensive line notion isn’t exactly a new one for fans.
The Browns’ defensive line is also one of the best in the league. Not the best thing going into the playoffs though.
I miss Joe Burrow.— BENGALS TALK (@BengalsTalk) January 9, 2022
Can I tweet Ryan Finley would be winning this game? I don't remember Brandon Allen being this bad.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) January 9, 2022
The most concerning part of this game is that Adeniji & Prince are starters on this line. & they look terrible.— ZIM (@zimwhodey) January 9, 2022
Pretty good example of why the Bengals still need to go all-in on the o-line this offseason. None of these guys are answers and you can't gamble that Carman will suddenly pan out.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) January 9, 2022
Little bit of instant analysis. Browns rotation into a Cover-2 with the CB the left acting as the other deep safety. Allen doesn't see it and has to pull the ball down. Could've had both options over the middle if he saw it. pic.twitter.com/oBwD0FeiWw— Goodbrrrrr (@JoeGoodberry) January 9, 2022
Safety Trayvon Henderson had the play of his career, so far. He has spent most of his career on the practice squad, and he has rarely played in a game for three years. He found opportunity knocking when Wyatt Ray forced a fumble that bounced right towards Henderson. He then returned it all the way for Cincinnati’s first points of the day. Just great to see.
Great moment for Trayvon Henderson. Member of practice squad for 3 years. In ninth NFL game he scores a TD on 29yard FR…Forced by DE Wyatt Ray. First Bengals FR TD since rookie DE Sam Hubbard vs. Miami in 2018— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) January 9, 2022
Super happy for Henderson. Love that guy. He’s gonna make the 53 some day— Jay R (@JayRBP) January 9, 2022
On to the big dance
The Bengals punched their ticket to the playoffs last week, so to have this formality of a game over with everyone relatively healthy through it is just a weight off everyone’s shoulders. There is still plenty to be determined for whether the Bengals end up as the 3 or 4 seed, but it is still going to be an exciting week for Bengals fans who have been through so much in recent seasons.
Joe Burrow seeing Bengals fans having fun and enjoying the football season pic.twitter.com/kU4kKEw5GW— Blake Jewell (@BlakeJewellNFL) January 8, 2022
Onto the playoffs— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) January 9, 2022