The New England Patriots improved to 11-3 on the year by beating the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-13, in Week 15 of the 2019 NFL season.
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The game against the Bengals was supposed to be an opportunity for the New England passing attack to show it could still hold its own. Instead, there were overthrows and drops, and they looked incapable of finding their rhythm. Making worries slightly worse, quarterback Tom Brady continued his run of average performances in this one.
The return of Isaiah Wynn continues to make life look easier for Tom Brady. The former first-round pick had arguably his best game since returning to the lineup and was nearly flawless in pass protection today.
It was just another day for Stephon Gilmore. Andy Dalton maybe should have feared the star cornerback instead of going after him. The results were not pretty when Dalton looked into Gilmore's coverage today, with two picks in total with a third that needed a receiver to break it up. There's a reason why teams stay away from Gilmore, and today's performance showcased it.
There remains a concern with the Patriots' pass-rush that was nonexistent for most of this game. No player demonstrated the kind of ability to win consistently today; they'll need a much better effort heading into the postseason.
The Bengals are counting down until draft day, but this four-interception performance from Andy Dalton would still have been disappointing. In a game where the defense did its part—as did the running game—Dalton made mistake after mistake and those errors ensured defeat.
The star on offense was running back Joe Mixon. He was consistently able to generate extra yardage by forcing missed tackles, and he made the most of what his line gave him.
This game saw a fantastic effort from Carlos Dunlap, who was the Bengals' do-it-all man on defense. He got the better of Marcus Cannon more often than not and forced a late fumble while defending the run. Ultimately it was all for naught, as it has been too often this year, but one of the most underrated players of the last decade continued his strong season today.
Rookie third-rounder Germaine Pratt may have a bright future in the NFL, but right now, he's struggling to impose himself. We've seen linebackers experience first years like this, but after a performance where he struggled to get off blocks to make plays, he's a guy who will need to get better for next year.