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Instant analysis after Bengals finish season with blowout of Browns

Led by Joe Mixon, the Cincinnati Bengals cruised through the Week 18 season finale against the Cleveland Browns, winning 31-14.

The Bengals jumped out to an early 14-0 lead on the back of two Mixon touchdowns in the first quarter and never looked back against a Browns team resting its starters ahead of the playoffs.

With the win, the Bengals close the season at 9-8 and avoid an 0-6 hole in AFC North play.

Along the way, one of the themes of the game was younger guys getting some run while providing hints about the future.

Here are some quick notes and numbers to know as the Bengals now turn to the offseason.

Quick Hits

— Jordan Battle snagged his first career interception on the opening drive, a nice exclamation point on a strong rookie season.

— But…Jake Browning overthrew Tyler Boyd on Cincinnati’s first drive, resulting in a pick.

— Rookie Charlie Jones got in on the action early with a 35-yard catch. He could play a big role next year if Tyler Boyd and/or Tee Higgins are gone.

— The first quarter belonged to Joe Mixon — he scored two touchdowns and went up over the 1,000-yard mark on the season.

— Big plays for rookie wideout Andrei Iosivas, who would be the primary guy of the future if Higgins doesn’t return.

— Even Joseph Ossai, after never really seeing the field earlier this year, got in on some notable pressures.

— Strange, though, to see a quiet day for first-rounder Myles Murphy.

— Trey Hendrickson didn’t get the 2.5 sacks needed to finish as the first Bengals player to lead the league in that category by season’s end.

— Fittingly, a pair of massive explosive plays by the first-team defense got coughed up near the end.

Key Stat

35 minutes: Time of possession, favoring the Bengals. Not really a shocker given one team put backups on the field for the game, but fans should still want to see this sort of disparity as opposed to the better team just not showing up at all for the finale.

Game Balls

RB Joe Mixon: If this is the last time Bengals fans see him in stripes, he left it all out there. He looked like one of the best outright players on the field, led by example and finished with 14 carries for 111 yards with two total touchdowns.

WR Andrei Iosivas: He certainly made his case for being on the field full time next year, catching two touchdowns.

Top Takeaway

On to the offseason: Given how things unfolded to get to this point, this was about as good as it gets for the Bengals. Veterans showed the culture is strong by playing hard in a “meaningless” finale. Young guys who could play key roles in the future had big showings, too. And ultimately, a win over a team they were supposed to beat.

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire