The Bengals lost to the Browns 37-34 on Sunday when Baker Mayfield found Donovan Peoples-Jones for a touchdown in the closing seconds.
Here are three winners and three losers from the loss.
With many believing he’s past his prime, Green stepped up against the Browns. He's played well in back-to-back games. The veteran wide out caught seven balls for 82 yards against the Browns. He was a big factor on offense. Joe Burrow found him in big spots, including on multiple third down conversions.
The former second-round pick had a very solid game on National Tight Ends day. He had five receptions for 52 years. Taking Drew Sample early in the draft led to scrutiny, however he has played well with increased playing time.
The rookie quarterback looked great against the Browns. Aside from an early interception, Cleveland couldn't stop Burrow. The Heisman Winner completed 35-of-47 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow also had 34 rushing yards and a rushing score. One thing is certain—the Bengals got their guy.
With injuries to Trae Waynes and William Jackson III, LeShaun Sims had an opportunity to prove himself. The 27-year-old struggled in coverage against Cleveland, allowing some big plays in the second half. Sims will need to step up as the season goes on if he wants to establish himself as a reliable NFL corner,
Vonn Bell struggled in coverage against the Browns tight ends, which is nothing new. They haven't been able to guard opposing tight ends all season. Bell is having a tough time in coverage. To be fair to him, he should be in the box more and in run stopping situations. He's never been a good player in coverage.
For the second consecutive week, the Bengals defense failed to close out a game and get a win. Once the Bengals took a lead, their defense felt soft, giving up easy completions. After Baker Mayfield started the game at 0-5 with an interception, the Bengals defense was shredded. Mayfield completed 22 of his next 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
That is unacceptable. Going forward the Bengals will have to keep their foot in the gas pedal when they get a lead instead of sitting back in a zone and letting their opponent drive down the field. This is a learning experience, but something has to change.
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