The Bengals still have one win this season. They lost to the Dolphins and now the Bengals have to try to move forward with a 1-14 record. Here are five things learned from week 16.
1. The Bengals Have the No. 1 Pick
The Bengals needed just one more loss coming into the weekend to procure the number one pick. Although they kept it close and took the game to overtime, Cincinnati fell to the Dolphins and now will have months to plan out who to take with the top selection.
With the first pick, the Bengals will likely select Heisman Trophy-winner, Joe Burrow, the quarterback from LSU. Burrow is from the state of Ohio and has impressed with his efficiency. If the Bengals decide to keep Andy Dalton at starting quarterback, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young will be the most likely selection.
2. The Offense can Score in Bunches
Even though the Bengals hired an offensive-minded coach, the offense has struggled most of the year. The most points they had scored all season long was 23 points against the Arizona Cardinals. While things didn’t need to improve for this season with the Bengals already out of the playoff picture, it was good to see the Bengals score some points.
Things started slowly for the Bengals, as they had just 12 points through three quarters against the Dolphins. The offense exploded in the fourth quarter for 23 points, which ended up forcing overtime. It ended up dying in overtime, but even the little spark of offense shows progress.
3. Joe Mixon’s Bug Didn’t Help
It was reported before the game that Joe Mixon had a stomach bug, but would try to play through it. He ended up not having a great game. The third-year running back finished the game with 21 carries for 50 yards.
This was a down game for a rushing offense that has been much improved over the last several weeks. Mixon has proven himself enough over the last three years, so the decision to play him in a meaningless game was a bit of a surprise.
4. The Secondary Needs Multiple Upgrades
The defense was also playing better over the last several weeks, but they failed to show up this week. They allowed the Dolphins to score 38 points and Ryan Fitzpatrick had a big day. Fitzpatrick finished with 419 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Cincinnati’s secondary did not make many plays outside of a Darius Phillips interception. Williams Jackson got turned around on a deep ball, allowing DeVante Parker to get a big gain in the first half. There are a few other examples of bad plays as well, but giving up that many yards and big plays to a bad team is not acceptable.
5. The Specialists Might be the Best Thing About This Team
With everything else going wrong for the Bengals this season, the specialists have actually done solid jobs. Randy Bullock and Kevin Huber have done well at their jobs, but unfortunately kickers and punters can only change a game so much.
In this game, Bullock hit both field goals and his one extra point attempt. Huber punted for an average of 48.5 yards on the day. One punt was shanked, but it looked like there may have been a little contact on him. A lot of times specialists go unappreciated, but on the Bengals they are some of the best players on the team.