ReFo: Bengals @ Browns, Week 15
With a look at Johnny Manziel's first start, Mike Mountford sorts out the rest of the game's noteworthy performances.
ReFo: Bengals @ Browns, Week 15
The win by the Cincinnati Bengals over the Cleveland Browns all but eliminates the Browns from the playoff race, while it puts the Bengals one win away from making the playoffs and in pole position for the AFC North title. The Bengals won this game in dominating fashion and ruined the first start for Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Cincinnati Bengals – Performances of Note
Kevin Zeitler, G: +5.4
Breakdown: Since Kevin Zeitler entered the league in 2012 he has been an above average guard. Against the Browns he showed what he could be if he takes the next step. Zeitler’s biggest strength was his blocking in space against the linebackers, as he was able to consistently seal the hole at the second level.
Signature Stat: Logged the highest single-game grade of his career. Prior to this week, Zeitler had never graded above +4.0.
Andy Dalton, QB: -4.3
Breakdown: While everyone will be talking about the struggles of Manziel, the Bengals had their own issue at quarterback as the Andy Dalton rollercoaster hit another dip this week. Dalton struggled with passes over 10 yards where he completed just two of 10 for 26 yards, an interception, and also saw another interception dropped by Joe Haden.
Signature Play: Q2, 6:36 remaining. Dalton attempts to hit Ryan Hewitt on a seam route but he fails to put enough on the pass, which allows Craig Robertson to pick it off.
Jeremy Hill, RB: -1.8
Breakdown: Jeremy Hill’s box score numbers look good as he gained 148 yards on 25 carries. However, he fumbled the ball twice and his second will give coaches and fans a cause for concern as it took but a slight hit on the ball to cause the turnover.
Signature Stat: A total of 38.5% of Hills yards came on three runs over 15 yards.
Cleveland Browns – Performances of Note
Joel Bitonio, LG: +2.4
Breakdown: The Cleveland Browns look like they have found their left guard of the future as Joel Bitonio is not just performing at a high level for a rookie, but he’s the second-highest graded guard this season. Against the Bengals, Bitonio only allowed one hurry and even though the running game struggled, he was able to consistently seal his defender.
Signature Stat: Since Week 9 Joel Bitonio leads all guards (who qualify) in Pass Blocking Efficiency of 99.4. with only two total pressures allowed over the past seven weeks.
Paul Kruger, OLB: +1.5
Breakdown: In a game where the Browns’ defense was overmatched from the first drive, the one good performance came from Paul Kruger. Kruger was unable to make his presents felt as a run defender, however as a pass rusher he was able to record four total pressure on just 20 pass rushing snaps.
Signature Stat: Kruger had the third-highest Pass Rushing Productivity for all 3-4 outside linebackers at 19.1, behind only Dan Skuta and Clay Matthews
Johnny Manziel, QB: -5.0
Breakdown: With the football world looking on and expecting fireworks, they were given, simply, a poor performance from a rookie quarterback. Manziel struggled to find his rhythm early and had trouble dealing with pressure from the Cincinnati defense, as he completed one of seven passes for 19 yards with the rush closing in.
Signature Play: Q2, 11:30 remaining. Andrew Hawkins is running a crossing route form right to left. Manziel waits to pass until Hawkins is passed the numbers on the left side of the field, allowing Dre Kirkpatrick time to undercut and intercept it.
PFF Game Ball
As the Bengals’ ground game was the only productive bit of offense from either team, the PFF Game Ball goes to Kevin Zeitler for his contribution.
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