Burkhead carries Bengals past Ravens in finale

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 1: Kenneth Dixon #30 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by Carlos Dunlap #96 of the Cincinnati Bengals and George Iloka #43 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

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CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 1: Kenneth Dixon #30 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by Carlos Dunlap #96 of the Cincinnati Bengals and George Iloka #43 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals put a tiny, shiny bow on an otherwise disappointing season today in the season finale against AFC North rival Baltimore.

Cincinnati scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and got points on the first four, and the defense held on from there for a 27-10 victory before 54,944 at Paul Brown Stadium.

The win was the team’s third in the final five games and enabled the Bengals (6-9-1) to avoid their first 10-loss since going 4-12 in 2010.

The Ravens fell to 8-8, giving them back-to-back non-winning seasons for the first time since the first four years of franchise history (1996-99).

Running back Rex Burkhead rushed for his first touchdown of the season and tight C.J. Uzomah scored the first of his career as part of the strong start for the Bengals.

Burkhead was making his first NFL start with Jeremy Hill inactive due to a knee injury, and he responded with a career-high 27 carries for a career-high 119 yards and two touchdowns to help boost his value as he heads into free agency.

He equaled the longest run of his career with a 17-yarder burst on his first carry of the game before capping the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. His second score, also from 5 yards out, came with 2:20 left in the game to up the lead to 27-10.

Uzomah’s touchdown was a 1-yarder from Andy Dalton on first and goal after Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb got flagged for pass interference on Brandon LaFell in the end zone.

The score came on the final play of the first quarter, and Randy Bullock’s PAT gave the Bengals a season-high 14 points in the opening stanza.

Bullock added field goals of 23 and 24 yards to send the Bengals into halftime with a 20-3 lead.

The defense took over after that.

Twice the Bengals turned the Ravens away with no points in the red zone. The first stand came when Shawn Williams intercepted Flacco in the end zone in the second quarter. Then in the third quarter the Bengals held on fourth and 2 at the 8 when rookie linebacker Nick Vigil broke up a Flacco pass intended for tight end Dennis Pitta.

Burkhead wasn’t the only Bengals player who cashed in. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who came into the game needing three catches and 5 yards to kick in $500,000 worth of contract incentives, caught seven passes for 67 yards.

Dalton finished 18 of 28 for 226 yards and a touchdown for a 101.6 rating.

Flacco was 32 of 49 for 267 yards and an interception for a 70.7 rating.

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