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11 winners and 3 losers in Bengals’ 31-14 win vs. Browns

The Bengals dominated the Browns on Sunday, with many starters and reserves shining.

The Cincinnati Bengals took it to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, getting a much-needed divisional win. The latter played its starters well into the second half, while the former rested most of its team, but the Bengals did what they were supposed to do against the Browns’ reserves.

Here are the best and worst performers in the Bengals’ big season finale win.

Winners

Joe Mixon:

We’ve seen some great performances from No. 18 in his seven seasons as a Bengal, but this one was up there. Before the conclusion of the first quarter, Mixon was sniffing 100 all-purpose yards and had two touchdowns—one rushing, one receiving. He also notched his fourth career 1,000-yard season, cementing his status as one of the best running backs in team history.

Jake Browning:

The stats aren’t overly gaudy for Browning, with just 156 passing yards, but a few drops definitely hurt that stat column. He finished with three passing touchdowns though, against the poor interception throw, giving him 15 total touchdowns (12 passing, three rushing) against 7 interceptions for the year.

Jordan Battle:

2023 was a critical year at the safety position, with the team utilizing three new starters on the back end of the defense. The rookie Battle has steadied things a bit once he stepped in, with the hope that 2024 will show big blossoming from him and Dax Hill back there.

Battle’s impressive growth in his first year continued with his first interception coming in the final week. It was a highlight reel grab, toe-tapping his way in bounds to secure the turnover.

Charlie Jones

The rookie wideout was asked to do a lot of different things this week. He returned punts, had rushing attempts, and caught passes. Jones had a nice deep reception early in the game, and his two jet sweep runs netted first downs.

Andrei Iosivas

The rookie wideout is blossoming into a nice complementary weapon in the offense. He made a nice sideline grab for a first down early in the game and then grabbed his third touchdown of the season in the second quarter.

Not to be outdone, Iosivas followed it up with his fourth touchdown grab with a nice one across the middle. His size and speed combo make him a nice red-zone weapon.

Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard

The dynamic duo was back at it again, with both getting sacks in this one. They applied a lot of pressure on Driskel throughout the game.

Mike Hilton

The veteran slot corner had a big second half of the season. In this one, he had two early tackles (back-to-back) around the line of scrimmage to stall a Cleveland drive and another pass defended in the second quarter to knock away a would-be big pass play.

Joseph Ossai

It’s been a tough, tough year for the third-year pass-rusher, but he made a major impact play in this one. Late in the second quarter, Ossai rushed in and hit Jeff Driskel when he was throwing, causing a fluttering pass that landed in the waiting arms of Logan Wilson.

Zac Taylor

The Cincinnati Bengals’ season was done going into this one, so the team (as we saw so often in the 1990s) could have packed things up and mailed this one in. Instead, the Bengals put forth one of their best and most dominating performances of the year and got a much-needed divisional win against a team that has had their number of late.

Lou Anarumo

Cincinnati’s defense was swarming and tackling well on Sunday afternoon, which hasn’t been necessarily the case for the whole year. The unit was playing so well that Cleveland’s offense didn’t notch its first first down until midway into the second quarter. Sure, they were playing against Browns reserves, but this was the type of dominating performance you expect with the respective personnel groups on the field.

Losers

Dax Hill and DJ Turner:

The sky is the limit for the young duo, but it was a rough stretch for both of them at the end of the game. They were in coverage on one of the late touchdowns, wherein it felt like they were in position to disallow the play. Both had nice starts to the season, but bumps late—however, they should be big-time contributors in 2024.

Brad Robbins:

It’s not so much that it was a really bad day for Robbins as much as it was a disparity from his Browns counterpart. Corey Bojorquez had an average of four more yards per punt than Robbins and pinned the Bengals inside their own 5-yard line twice, while Robbins had a 33-yard attempt on one of his five punts.