NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Game Recap: Cincinnati Bengals 41, Baltimore Ravens 21

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (85) reacts with running back Joe Mixon (28) and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) after scoring a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals walloped the Baltimore Ravens 41-21 in Week 16 to collect their ninth win of the season and take sole possession of first place in the AFC North.

Baltimore’s beleaguered defense was no match for Joe Burrow and Cincinnati’s electric offensive attack, as the former No. 1 overall pick set a new franchise record for passing yards in a single game. The Ravens, led by last-minute replacement Josh Johnson, fell to 8-7. They remain on the outside looking in on the AFC playoff picture. The Bengals improved to 9-6 and now find themselves as the AFC’s No. 4 seed with just two games remaining.

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Cincinnati Bengals

Quarterback

Joe Burrow submitted likely the strongest performance by any quarterback so far this season, throwing for 525 yards and four touchdowns while completing 37 of his 46 attempts. Despite throwing for the fourth-most single-game yards in NFL history, Burrow was impressively efficient, as his 88.6% adjusted completion percentage was his second-highest figure this season. The former Heisman winner shredded the blitz, completing 14 of his 16 attempts against the blitz for 193 yards and a touchdown. Burrow also found immense success in the intermediate areas of the field, connecting on 11 of 13 attempts between 10-19 yards for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 10/10 36 100% 0
Short (1-9) 14/16 167 100% 2
Medium (10-19) 11/13 218 84.6% 2
Long (20+) 2/5 104 40% 0

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Running Back

Joe Mixon was a force in both the rushing and passing attack Sunday, turning his 24 touches into 135 total yards and two touchdowns. Mixon was impressively difficult to bring down, as his three first-down rushes and three forced missed tackles were both tops among all running backs.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Tee Higgins continued his recent stretch of dominance with another impressive performance, hauling in 12 of his team-high 13 targets for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Higgins' 12 first-down receptions was the highest single-game total so far this season, while his four contested catches tied for the second-highest single-game total this year.

Still, rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase was the most dynamic pass-catcher on the field Sunday, leading all players with 75 yards accumulated after the catch while pacing Cincinnati with six explosive plays. Chase reeled in 7 of his 10 targets for 125 yards.

Offensive Line

Cincinnati’s offensive line flourished in the run game, facilitating a Bengals rushing attack that averaged 3.7 yards per carry. The unit was less stout against the pass, allowing 26 pressures and three sacks.

Defensive Line

Bengals defensive linemen achieved consistent penetration against the run, holding Ravens rushers to an average of just -0.3 yards before contact. The group found similar success against the pass, as edge rusher Trey Hendrickson accounted for five of the unit’s 14 pressures while collecting the team’s lone sack.

Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks
Sam Hubbard 41 2 0
Trey Hendrickson 29 5 1
B.J. Hill 25 4 0
Larry Ogunjobi 25 2 0
Linebackers

Cincinnati linebackers combined for 15 tackles Sunday led by Markus Bailey, who led the team with eight. The group performed competently in coverage, allowing receptions on five of their seven unit-wide targets for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Secondary

The Bengals secondary thrived against the Ravens quick-strike passing attack, surrendering just 249 yards and one touchdown while registering a unit-wide passer rating allowed of 98.2. Cornerback Mike Hilton drew a team-high nine targets, surrendering eight receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Player Coverage snaps Receptions allowed/Targets Yards allowed Passer rating allowed
Jessie Bates III 43 2/2 29 118.8
Eli Apple 43 2/3 21 86.8
Vonn Bell 42 2/2 16 60.4
Mike Hilton 39 8/9 75 138.4
Chidobe Awuzie 34 4/8 49 69.3

Baltimore Ravens

Quarterback

Josh Johnson was serviceable in his first NFL start since 2018, completing 28 of his 40 attempts for 304 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Baltimore relied heavily on the quick game with the 35-year-old Johnson under center, as 22 of his 28 completions came on targets under 10 yards. Johnson was adept at protecting the ball, registering just one turnover-worthy play while finishing with an adjusted completion percentage of 81.1%.

Target Depth Comps./Atts. Yds. Adj. Comp. % TDs
Behind L.O.S 2/2 -2 100% 0
Short (1-9) 20/24 198 83.3% 0
Medium (10-19) 5/9 83 77.8% 2
Long (20+) 1/2 25 50% 0
Running Backs

Devonta Freeman did little with his unit-high eight touches, collecting 20 total yards in the defeat. Freeman did collect the team’s lone rushing touchdown as he led all Baltimore rushers with two first downs accrued.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Mark Andrews continues to act as the focal point of the Ravens passing attack, catching eight of his team-high 10 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. Andrews caught each of his three contested targets while leading all Baltimore pass-catchers in yards after the catch (45), first downs (7) and explosive plays (4).

James Proche II was Baltimore’s most effective wide receiver, reeling in seven of eight targets for 76 yards. The second-year pro out of SMU came into Sunday’s contest with just 10 career receptions but ended up leading all Ravens wide receiver’s with four first downs and two contested catches.

Offensive Line

Baltimore’s offensive line was solid in pass protection Sunday, conceding 14 pressures and one sack. The group found less success in the run game, as Ravens rushers averaged an uninspiring 2.4 yards per carry.

Defensive Line

Baltimore’s defensive line impressed against the pass, totaling 22 unit-wide pressures and two sacks. Edge rusher Odafe Oweh paced the group with eight pressures, leading all pass-rushers with two quarterback hits. The group was pedestrian against the run, as Cincinnati rushers averaged 1.4 yards before contact.

Player Pass Rushing Snaps Total Pressures Sacks
Odafe Oweh 39 8 0
Broderick Washington Jr. 33 3 1
Tyus Bowser 29 3 0
Brandon Williams 24 1 0
Justin Ellis 17 3 0
Jaylon Fergueson 14 1 0
Isaiah Mack 14 3 1
Linebackers

Patrick Queen’s nine tackles were second-most among Ravens defenders, as the second-year pro finished with an average depth of tackle of 3.0 yards. He captained a Baltimore linebackers group that held up fine in coverage, allowing 64 yards on five unit-wide receptions.

Secondary

Baltimore’s injury-ravaged secondary was no match for Cincinnati’s high-powered aerial attack, as the unit was torched for a total of 444 yards and four touchdowns. Cornerback Kevon Seymour drew a team-high eight targets, conceding first downs on each of his seven allowed receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown.

Player Coverage snaps Receptions allowed/Targets Yards allowed Passer rating allowed
Kevon Seymour 48 7/8 123 158.3
Chuck Clark 46 3/3 59 118.8
Daryl Worley 42 6/7 57 140.2
Tavon Young 36 4/5 28 129.6
Tony Jefferson 32 2/3 7 70.1
Brandon Stephens 26 3/3 98 158.3
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