What a whirlwind of a game. It wasn’t the prettiest of affairs, but the Cincinnati Bengals got it done in Foxborough.
Cast your vote and sound off on your winners for the Bengals’ Week 16 awards from their 22-18 win over the New England Patriots!
Most Valuable Player
While he threw two costly interceptions, Burrow sliced-and-diced the Patriots defense throughout most of the afternoon. He finished with three touchdown passes (and as an eyelash away from a fourth), as well as 375 passing yards on a 77 percent completion rate.
With Tyler Boyd still being hampered by his dislocated finger, Irwin has stepped in nicely since being fully activated to the roster. He finished with three catches for 45 yards and two scores, while barely missing on another beauty for the hat trick.
The big receiver was the team’s leader in receptions (eight on nine targets) and yards (128). One of the grabs was for a score, as Higgins routinely dominated New England’s defensive backs.
The team’s emerging star at linebacker keeps stringing together quality games. He had nine total tackles against the Patriots (a team-high), along with a sack. He was the team’s second-highest scorer in Pro Football Focus metrics, as well.
Highest graded Bengals in Week 16 win vs Patriots:— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) December 26, 2022
Joe Burrow - 89.2
Logan Wilson - 84.7
DJ Reader - 82.7
4⃣ Cameron Sample - 76.8
5⃣ Joe Mixon - 74.9 pic.twitter.com/7OmPn4CNtP
The veteran safety has had an absolute knack for coming up with some of the biggest plays over the past few years. Whether it was knocking JuJu Smith-Schuster on his keister, or this week’s improbable strip of Rhamondre Stevenson near the goal line, he is one of the team’s most clutch players.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ Week 16 MVP?
This poll is closed
QB Joe Burrow
WR Trenton Irwin
WR Tee Higgins
LB Logan Wilson
DB Vonn Bell
Unsung Hero of the Week
The team’s running back quietly had a productive day. He had over 100 yards from scrimmage (65 rushing, 43 receiving) and a solid 74.9 overall PFF score.
With Hayden Hurst out, Wilcox has been a pretty reliable short-yardage target for Burrow. In addition to helping out in the blocking game, he had six catches on as many targets for 35 yards.
Cincinnati needs quality reps from their younger edge players with both Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard battling injuries. Sample took a nice step forward this week, notching six total tackles (tied for second-highest), a sack and a 76.8 PFF score.
Interior linemen don’t readily shoot off of the stat page, and while this week wasn’t an outlier for that with Reader, he was a force in keeping the Patriots’ rushing attack at bay. New England mustered only 61 rushing yards on just 3.8 yards per carry. He once again was a PFF all-star with an 82.7 score.
Much like Reader, Tupou made the most of his rotational interior snaps. He had a sack of Mac Jones and was part of the great defensive effort.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ Week 16 Unsung Hero of the Week?
This poll is closed
RB Joe Mixon
TE Mitchell Wilcox
DL Cam Sample
DT D.J. Reader
DT Josh Tupou
Play of the Game
Tee Higgins’ 9-yard touchdown catch:
Effort, effort, effort. Higgins caught a short pass early in the contest and muscled his way into the end zone. It was just part-and-parcel of many examples of his physicality on the day, winning practically all of his battles.
Imagine having Tee Higgins and he’s not even the best WR on the team pic.twitter.com/JRSen7QSeD— Clay Winstead (@ClayWinstead) December 24, 2022
Trenton Irwin’s 23-yard touchdown catch:
Irwin’s first touchdown was a beauty, from the throw to the catch and ability to hang on the ball. From the slot, Irwin worked the seam for a beautiful pitch-and-catch.
#Patriots film: Aside from catching them in a substitution change, Burrow's TD to Trenton Irwin caught the Pats in 2-deep coverage for the 9th time on that 10-play drive (most were Cover 2 calls).— Andrew Callahan (@_AndrewCallahan) December 26, 2022
NE got their invited checkdowns and runs, then Burrow waited them out and struck. pic.twitter.com/nrvA9ui0uZ
Trenton Irwin’s 4-yard touchdown catch:
Irwin’s second touchdown grab of the day was at the end of the second quarter, and it officially noted the rout was on, even if it was temporary. Irwin went out to the right flat and Burrow hit him with ease to put the Bengals up 22-0.
Trenton Irwin : 3 catches for 45 yards & 2 TD's on 4 targets pic.twitter.com/mIHZkLUddI— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) December 24, 2022
Vonn Bell’s strip and B.J. Hill’s recovery of Rhamondre Stevenson’s fumble:
It’s been a rough past couple of games for Stevenson. With the Patriots looking like they had an improbable win sewn up, an even more improbable thing happened with the Bengals’ defense forcing a turnover to turn the tables and allow Cincinnati to bleed out the victory.
Which play gets your vote for the best of Week 16?
This poll is closed
Tee Higgins’ 9-yard touchdown
Trenton Irwin’s 23-yard touchdown catch
Trenton Irwin’s 4-yard touchdown catch
Bengals’ defense fumble and recovery from Rhamondre Stevenson