NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 15, Denver Broncos 10

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass in the first half the NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at Empower Field in Denver, Co. Cincinnati Bengals At Denver Broncos 368

In a game with massive playoff implications, the Denver Broncos offense couldn’t get out of its own way. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater barely even attempted to look downfield before a scary head injury, and then Drew Lock was wild when he attacked deep.

The win moves the Bengals into first place in the AFC North.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback

The Broncos' defense has thrived all season by putting caps on opposing quarterbacks, which was certainly the case against Burrow. The second-year passer completed only three passes that went more than five yards down the football field. He was either sacked or forced to scramble on seven of his 29 dropbacks.

Running Back

It was tough sledding for Joe Mixon before going down with an injury. The Bengals' starting running back was forced to pick up 53 of his 58 yards after contact on the day. Only one of his runs resulted in either no gain or a loss.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Ja’Marr Chase’s hot and cold rapport with Joe Burrow continues to be an underrated storyline of the Bengals' season. He managed only three yards and one catch on the day.

Despite racking up over 1,000 yards this season, Chase has been held under 60 yards in six of his last seven games.

Offensive Line

The story of the game going in for the Bengals offensive line was how would backup right tackle Fred Johnson fair. After the game, his outstanding performance continued to be the story of the game. He allowed only two pressures on 29 pass-blocking snaps.

Defensive Line

The defensive line as a whole had a heck of a day against the run, but no one deserves a bigger shoutout than Khalid Kareem. The former fifth-rounder's strip of Drew Lock on an option run was quite easily the play of the game for Cincinnati. On only 13 snaps, Kareem registered two run stops.

Linebackers

For a player who wasn’t even a lock to make the roster back at the beginning of the season, Joe Bachie has made the most of his time. He made three tackles in coverage on only 11 such snaps, and his only target went for all of three yards.

Secondary

Sunday was quite easily one of the best games of Eli Apple’s career. On six targets, he allowed only two catches for nine yards. Of those six targets, he also forced two incompletions.

Denver Broncos

Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater fully went into his shell on Sunday before an unfortunate head injury ended his game early. His deepest completion traveled a mere 11 yards downfield — and he took 25 dropbacks.

Drew Lock was far more aggressive but also much wilder. He was erratic as can be, recording a 50% adjusted completion percentage.

Running Back

It was a dead even 50-50 split for carries in the Broncos backfield. Javonte Williams clearly came out on top statistically. Of his 15 carries, five resulted in first downs, and he finished with 72 yards.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Outside of a Tim Patrick “Mossing” for a score, the Broncos receivers had as quiet a day as we’ve seen from them all season. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy combined to haul in only three of 14 targets for 21 yards without a single first down.

Offensive Line

After allowing only three pressures over his last three games, Garett Bolles allowed that many on Sunday alone. Bengals edge rusher Trey Hendrickson gave him fits as he allowed a sack, two hurries and committed two penalties.

Defensive Line

Bradley Chubb continues to be relatively quiet in his return from injury. After managing only one pressure in each of his first three games back, Chubb managed only two on Sunday.

Linebackers

When he returns, Kenny Young may not even have a starting job with how Jonas Griffith has played. The 2020 UDFA from Indiana State was all over the field Sunday. He racked up seven defensive stops to lead all players. He was targeted six times and allowed only 13 yards with no first downs.

Secondary

The Broncos' secondary went largely untested all game long. Besides one busted coverage, they more than held up their end of the bargain. They combined to allow only five first downs all game long.

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