The Cincinnati Bengals Week 13 matchup with the Kanas City Chiefs was a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game between two of the current best teams in the AFC. It was also a matchup of two of the best quarterbacks in the leagues with Joe Burrow vs. Patrick Mahomes. Cincinnati came away with a 27-24 in this Bengals-Chiefs matchup, so let’s give some Bengals grades for this huge victory.

Passing offense:

Joe Burrow may not have put up gaudy numbers (25-of-31 for 286 yards and two touchdowns), but the Bengals’ Week 13 pass game was excellent overall. Burrow did a great job getting Ja’Marr Chase back involved after his long layoff (seven catches, 97 yards) and still spread the ball around to eight different pass catchers.

Tee Higgins continued his quest to become one of the best No. 2 WRs in the NFL this game with three catches for 31 yards and a TD, and Tyler Boyd was good, too, although his walk-in touchdown drop does take points off these Bengals’ grades.

Grade: A

Rushing offense:

The Cincinnati rushing offense was the story of this Bengals-Chiefs game. Even without star running back Joe Mixon, the Bengals dominated the Chiefs on the ground, with Samaje Perine toting the rock 21 times for 106 yards. Additionally, somehow Burrow turned into Josh Allen at some point and ended up with 11 attempts for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Burrow even had some designed runs that turned into big plays, which picked up critical yards in this game. It has to be nerve-wracking for Bengals fans to watch their franchise QB rumble through the defense and take on defenders at the end (slide, Joe!), but it was a fantastic strategic move with the Bengals offensive line dominating the Chiefs defensive front.

When Mixon gets back, the 1-2 punch of him and Perine could be incredible if the O-line keeps playing like this, and the Bengals will once again look like the Super Bowl team of last season.

Grade: A+

Passing defense:

The Bengals’ passing defense did a solid job against Mahomes and his high-octane offense. They held the All-Pro QB to 16-of-27 for 223 yards with a touchdown and got two sacks — including a huge one in the fourth quarter — on the star signal-caller. They also held the individual pass-catchers down for the most part. No player on the Chiefs had more than 71 yards, and outside of Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s 42-yard catch, no pass-catcher had a play of more than 19 yards.

One area of concern here is the screen game. The Bengals struggled a bit containing these plays to Isiah Pacheco, Travis Kelce, and Jerick McKinnon. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not that big of a deal, though, which is why the Bengals’ Week 13 grade for their pass D falls just a hair short of an A.

Grade: B+

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Rushing defense:

If there was a “worst” part of the Bengals team today it was the rushing defense. The Chiefs put up 138 yards on the ground, with rookie running back Isiah Pacheco carrying the ball 14 times for 66 yards. The D also struggled with change-of-pace back Jerick McKinnon, as he put up 51 yards on just eight carries.

When playing the Chiefs, the game plan should be to let them run all they want as the defense focuses on stopping Mahomes and his devastating passing attack. So the Bengals grade for their rush defense will be lower than any other unit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Grade: B

Special teams:

Evan McPherson (aka KickPherson, aka Money Mac) looked like his usual late-season self as he connected on all five of his kicks, including field goals from 36 and 41 yards. On the flip side, the field goal defense pressured Harrison Butker into a late-game miss that would have tied the game at 27.

The only reason that the Bengals grade for special teams isn’t an A is that they did struggle to get Isiah Pacheco down on kick returns a few times. The rookie had five returns for 116 yards, including a 44-yard bring-back, that gave the Chiefs good field position.

Grade: B+


There was nothing bad with what Zac Taylor and company did in the Bengals Week 13 matchup. They stayed committed to the run, spread the ball around, and played about as well against Patrick Mahomes as a defense can. The Joe Burrow runs were also innovative play-calling by the coaching staff.

Also, after letting up two touchdowns in the third quarter, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s defense tightened up in the fourth and shut the Chiefs out to win the game.

Grade: A

Overall Bengals grade: A

The Bengals and Joe Burrow beat Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for the third-straight time, taking Burrow’s record vs. Mahomes to 3-0 all-time. It was another comeback win vs. the Chiefs and another field goal margin, but a win is a win, and against KC, a team has to bring its “A” game to even hang with them.

The “A” game is exactly what the Bengals brought in Week 13.