NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 13 Game Recap: Los Angeles Chargers 41, Cincinnati Bengals 22

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) runs during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

After watching their 24-point lead dwindle to just two, the Los Angeles Chargers closed out Sunday’s contest with 17 unanswered points to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 41-22 in Week 13. 


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Los Angeles jumped out to a quick 24-0 lead before Cincinnati ripped off 22 unanswered points of its own to cut the Chargers lead to just two points midway through the third quarter.

However, it was all Chargers after that, as Justin Herbert posted an all-around dominant performance to improve Los Angeles to 7-5 on the season. The Bengals, meanwhile, fall to 7-5 as they work to secure their position in the hectic AFC playoff picture. 

Los Angeles Chargers

Quarterback

Herbert bounced back from his disappointing performance last week to put together one of his strongest all-around showings so far this season, throwing for 317 yards on 26-of-35 passing along with three touchdowns and one interception.

While complaints have mounted concerning Herbert’s limited opportunities down the field, Sunday was a completely different story, as the second-year pro finished with six explosive passing plays and a 10.2-yard average depth of target — his highest average so far this season.

Despite the schematic shift, Herbert remained impressively efficient, registering his third-highest completion percentage (74.3%) and passer rating (118.4) so far this year. The NFL's reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year also quelled any concerns about his ability to protect the ball, as he didn't register a single turnover worthy play after finishing with a season-high three turnover worthy plays in last week’s defeat. 

Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 10/10 40 100% 0
Short (1-9) 9/11 72 81.8% 1
Medium (10-19) 2/6 17 33.3% 1
Long (20+) 5/7 188 85.7% 1
Running back

Austin Ekeler turned 19 touches into 104 total yards but struggled to hold on to the football, as he lost two fumbles in the victory. He was one of two Chargers players to force a missed tackle Sunday, finishing with four forced missed tackles, which led all players in the game.

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Los Angeles’ varied attack gave Cincinnati's secondary fits throughout Sunday’s contest, as Chargers wide receivers hauled in 14 of their 20 unit-wide targets for 234 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Keenan Allen reeled in five of his team-high eight targets, finishing with 34 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the win. 

Jared Cook led all tight ends in the game with 29 receiving yards on three receptions — two of which went for first downs. The 13-year pro registered 69.2% of his snaps from the slot — the highest percentage of any Los Angeles pass-catcher. 

Offensive line

Los Angeles’s offensive line performed admirably in Sunday’s victory, holding up well in pass protection while facilitating a Chargers rushing attack that averaged 3.6 yards per carry.

Center Corey Linsley was the unit’s standout member, allowing zero pressures in the win.

Defensive line

Despite losing star edge defender Joey Bosa early in the first quarter to a head injury, the Chargers excelled upfront, minimizing the Bengals opportunities on the ground while generating consistent pressure with their pass rush. Edge defender Uchenna Nwosu was especially impressive, enabling Los Angeles’ hot start with a strip-sack early in the first quarter.

Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Jerry Tillery 37 2 0
Kyler Fackrell 35 3 0
Uchenna Nwosu 33 5 2
Joe Gaziano 19 1 0
Christian Covington 19 2 0
Chris Rumph II 16 3 1
Justin Jones 15 1 1
Linebackers

Kyzir White and Drue Tranquill each registered 10 tackles to lead all Chargers defenders, finishing with a 5.1-yard average depth of tackle. The duo was equally stout in coverage, conceding just 66 yards on seven unit-wide receptions.

Secondary

Los Angeles’ secondary was up and down Sunday, ultimately generating more explosive plays than they conceded, as the unit was integral in quelling Cincinnati’s comeback attempt.

Cornerback Michael Davis drew a team-high 11 targets, allowing five receptions for 66 yards while hauling one of the unit's two interceptions.  

Player Coverage snaps  Receptions allowed/Targets Yards allowed Passer rating allowed
Michael Davis 47 5/11 66 57.4
Nasir Adderly 46 0/1 0 39.6
Derwin James 45 1/2 32 95.8
Tevaughn Campbell 44 7/9 88 107.4
Chris Harris Jr. 40 3/5 32 39.2

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Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback

Joe Burrow was impressive throughout Sunday’s defeat, throwing for 300 yards on 24-of-40 passing with two total touchdowns and two interceptions.

Under duress for the entirety of the contest, Burrow was sacked a season-high six times, as he was granted a season-low 2.61 seconds to throw. Despite the constant pressure, Burrow registered four big-time throws while averaging 10.3 yards of depth per target — both of which are career-highs.

The former No. 1 overall pick was hampered by three dropped passes — his second-highest figure of the season — one of which resulted in an interception. 

Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 1/1 0 100% 0
Short (1-9) 15/21 150 85.7% 0
Medium (10-19) 7/11 121 63.6% 0
Long (20+) 1/5 29 40% 1
Running back

Joe Mixon failed to reach his lofty standards in Sunday’s defeat, finishing with 54 yards on the ground and a touchdown on 19 carries. He registered a team-high three first downs while forcing two forced missed tackles to lead all Cincinnati ball-carriers. 

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Wide receiver Tee Higgins operated as Burrow’s go-to target in the loss, catching nine of his game-high 14 targets for 138 yards and a touchdown. Higgins' impressive stature was on display throughout Sunday’s contest, as the second-year pro finished with three contested catches while picking up a game-high seven first downs. 

Tight end C.J. Uzomah hauled in three of his six targets for 20 yards in the defeat. He was responsible for one of the unit’s three drops, registering just his second drop of the season.

Offensive line

Missing a number of usual starters, Cincinnati’s offensive line struggled in both the run game and pass protection. Starting left tackle Jonah Williams was especially susceptible in pass protection, surrendering a team-high four pressures while conceding one of the team’s six allowed sacks.  

Defensive line

Cincinnati’s defensive line performed competently in Sunday’s defeat, limiting Los Angeles to just 79 rushing yards while generating 16 unit-wide pressures. Edge defender Trey Hendrickson was a constant presence in the Los Angeles backfield, registering a sack for the eighth straight contest.

Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks 
Sam Hubbard 35 5 1
Larry Ogunjobi 33 3 1
Trey Hendrickson 27 4 1
D.J. Reader 23 1 0
Cameron Sample 12 1 1
B.J. Hill 10 1 1
Linebackers

The Bengals' linebackers accumulated 21 unit-wide tackles, led by Germaine Pratt and Joe Bachie, who each paced the unit with nine tackles in the defeat. The group was impressive in coverage, surrendering just 34 yards on six unit-wide receptions.

Secondary

Cincinnati’s secondary was not at its best Sunday, finishing with a unit-wide passer rating allowed of 124.8 after allowing 18 receptions on 26 targets for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Cornerback Mike Hilton saw a team-high seven targets, conceding five receptions for 86 yards, which included a first-quarter touchdown.

Player Coverage snaps  Receptions allowed/Targets Yards allowed Passer rating allowed
Eli Apple 40 0/3 0 39.6
Jessie Bates III 39 5/5 85 158.3
Vonn Bell 38 2/2 20 108.3
Mike Hilton 34 5/7 86 152.4
Chidobe Awuzie 26 4/6 58 58.3
Vernon Hargreaves III 18 2/3 17 81.3
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