Joe Mixon rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns and Andy Dalton passed for 190 yards and a score to lift the host Cincinnati Bengals to a 33-23 victory against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Cincinnati (2-14), which has secured the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, finished in fourth place in the AFC North for the second straight season but avoided the first one-victory season in franchise history. The Bengals also finished 2-14 in 2002.
The Browns' Nick Chubb ran 13 times for 41 yards to finish the season with 1,494 rushing yards and likely will earn the NFL rushing title.
Cleveland (6-10) raced to a 7-0 lead after its opening drive, capitalizing on a short field that stemmed from D'Ernest Johnson's 47-yard kickoff return to begin the game. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, the first Cleveland signal-caller to start all 16 games under center in 18 years, punctuated the drive with a 46-yard touchdown to Damion Ratley just 1:28 into the game.
Cincinnati responded with three touchdown drives and 20 unanswered points over the next quarter-plus. A Dalton scoring pass of 15 yards to C.J. Uzomah started the run before the Bengals twice visited the end zone on the ground, getting touchdown runs of 3 yards from Mixon and 5 yards from Dalton.
The Browns staged a rally of their own, however, cutting their halftime deficit to 20-16 on a 42-yard Austin Seibert field goal and a 56-yard TD pass from Mayfield to Jarvis Landry, after which the point-after attempt failed.
The Bengals pushed their lead to 30-16 with a 47-yard Bullock field goal early in the third quarter and a 2-yard Mixon TD run with 14:16 to go. The Browns drew to within 30-23 on a 20-yard TD pass from Mayfield to Odell Beckham Jr. halfway through the quarter but came no closer.
Cleveland placed third in the division for the second straight season while finishing with double-digit losses for the 10th time in 12 years.
Mayfield was 12-of-27 passing for 279 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He finished the season with 22 touchdown passes to become the first Cleveland quarterback to throw for at least 20 TDs in successive seasons since Brian Sipe accomplished the feat from 1978-80.
--Field Level Media