The loss leaves New England with an uphill climb to make the postseason after entering the week with a projected 13% playoff probability with a loss against the Bengals.
Cincinnati, meanwhile, strengthens its chances in the AFC North with a Week 18 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens looming.
Offensive spotlight: This was another masterful performance from Joe Burrow, even with two interceptions on his final stat line. Neither interception falls entirely on Burrow, with a stopped route from Tyler Boyd leading to the first and a miscommunication to the second. And there were plenty of instances of Burrow putting the ball only where his receiver could get it. Burrow finished the game with five big-time throws and an adjusted completion percentage of 88%, per PFF’s first-run analysis of the game.
Defensive spotlight: Logan Wilson is likely going to come out of the review process tomorrow as one of Cincinnati’s highest-graded defenders. Wilson recorded two pressures, including one sack, and added a game-high five coverage stops. Cincinnati’s linebacking corps earned the second-highest PFF grade as a unit from Week 10 through Week 15 behind only San Francisco’s, and the group continues to perform at a high level entering the postseason.
Rookie spotlight: Marcus Jones made one of the plays of the game for New England with a pick-six that showcased the return ability he brought to the NFL from Houston, but he was the target of choice for Burrow throughout the game. Pending review, Jones allowed 11 receptions on 12 targets for 169 receiving yards. It would be the most receiving yards allowed by any Patriots defender in a single game this season.
Offensive line spotlight: La’el Collins has not had the kind of season Cincinnati has hoped for, but any extended absence following his departure from today’s game would be costly for the Bengals. Collins’ replacement, Hakeem Adeniji, was only charged with one pressure allowed on initial review, but that number is misleading. PFF also charted Adeniji with eight pass-blocking losses that didn’t result in pressure, largely due to quick releases from Burrow (2.28-second average time to throw).
|Joe Burrow||28.5||40 / 52||375||7.2||3||2||2||99.4|
|Mac Jones||17.5||21 / 33||240||7.3||2||0||4||105.6|
|Rhamondre Stevenson P||4.3||13||30||2.3||0||7||1|
|Pierre Strong Jr.||3.0||2||2||10||5.0||0||5|