By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel smiles as he walks off the field after an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon, center right, celebrates his touchdown with center Billy Price (53) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) runs in a touchdown in the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Oakland Raiders tight end Lee Smith celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon celebrates his touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon runs the ball in the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback William Jackson (22) breaks up a pass to Oakland Raiders wide receiver Marcell Ateman (88) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) scores a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Oakland Raiders free safety Erik Harris (25) celebrates his interception in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis stands on the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden works the sideline in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr passes in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
CINCINNATI (AP) An entire month had come and gone without even one win, leaving the Bengals in their deepest drought since 2010.
Joe Mixon provided just enough to give the sparse crowd a reason to cheer at the end of their final home game.
Mixon ran for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns Sunday, and Cincinnati held on for a 30-16 victory over the Oakland Raiders that ended one of their longest losing streaks under coach Marvin Lewis, but couldn't prevent the Bengals from being eliminated from playoff contention for the third straight season.
The Bengals (6-8) had dropped five straight - their third-worst slump during Lewis' 16 seasons - before finding a team struggling as much as them.
Mixon's 15-yard touchdown with 4:04 left capped his second straight 100-yard game and clinched the Bengals' first win since October.
''I feel like it's been a loooooong time since we were able to do that,'' Mixon said.
Cincinnati distributed 44,568 tickets for its final home game. The Bengals had the second-smallest season attendance in Paul Brown Stadium's 19 seasons as fans showed frustration with another disappointing season under Lewis.
The Steelers' 17-10 win over the Patriots later Sunday ended the Bengals' minuscule chances of winning the AFC North.
In a few weeks, Cincinnati will be waiting to see whether Lewis is around for another year or whether the small crowds will prompt owner Mike Brown to make significant changes. The slump-busting win provided a temporary relief.
''I've never dealt with losing my whole life, even back to grade school,'' said rookie defensive end Sam Hubbard, who had two sacks and forced a fumble. ''To come out with a win really feels great.''
The Raiders (3-11) are already in next-year mode. They fired general manager Reggie McKenzie on Monday and had little on the line against the Bengals.
Oakland was trying to win two in a row for the first time this season, and Derek Carr was closing in on a club record for avoiding interceptions. Carr got his record, but the sloppy Raiders lost again with a nondescript performance.
''I ain't got much to talk about, guys,'' tight end Jared Cook said.
The Raiders' offensive line has been depleted by injuries. They struggled to get anything going consistently, managing 297 total yards.
''This stings,'' coach Jon Gruden said. ''It's hard to lose. It's a hard situation with a lot of the moving parts that we have.''
With Mixon the focal point, the Bengals put together their biggest first half since their previous victory, 37-34 over Tampa Bay on Oct. 28. Lewis went for it twice on fourth down and produced a pair of touchdown drives. Mixon surged into the end zone on fourth down from the 1-yard line for a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
Jeff Driskel struggled in his third start replacing the injured Andy Dalton, repeatedly overthrowing receivers. He had a 7-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd for Cincinnati's first score, but Driskel finished 14 of 33 for 130 yards with an interception.
Carr was 21 of 38 for 263 yards and a touchdown and no interceptions for the ninth straight game. With his 14th pass, Carr broke Rich Gannon's club record for the longest stretch without throwing an interception - 277 in 2001. He was lucky to get that far: Bengals safety Shawn Williams dropped a ball thrown directly to him on Oakland's first possession.
BOYD HITS 1,000
Boyd reached 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career before hurting his right knee late in the first half. He didn't return. Afterward, he said the injury isn't serious. With A.J. Green out for the season with a toe injury, Boyd is the leading receiver with 1,028 yards on 76 catches.
''That's something I wanted to accomplish since got to the NFL,'' Boyd said. ''Now that I've done it, it's on to the next one. I think have to think about, let it marinate.''
MIXON ALMOST THERE
Mixon's big game left him 5 yards shy of 1,000 for the first time in his two-year career.
In a play that symbolized the Raiders' day, Carr spiked the ball at midfield trying to stop the clock as the first half wound down, but took too long and there was no time left when the ball hit the ground.
Raiders: LG Kelechi Osemele was out for the second straight game with a toe injury, and RG Gabe Jackson was inactive with an elbow injury. CB Gareon Conley got a concussion.
Bengals: LB Vontaze Burfict missed his second straight game with a concussion.
Raiders host Denver on Monday night. They lost at Denver 20-19 in the second game of the season.
Bengals play at Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns won at Paul Brown Stadium 35-20 on Nov. 25.
The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent wide receiver Damiere Byrd to an undisclosed one-year deal on Tuesday. He spent the last four years with the Panthers and played in 17 games over the last three years while spending his rookie year on the practice squad. Byrd caught 12 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns with Carolina and also worked as a kickoff and punt returner. He's mainly receiver depth for Arizona and will likely make his biggest impact on special teams.
The Buffalo Bills plan to release running back Chris Ivory after signing veteran Frank Gore this offseason, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Releasing Ivory will save the team $2.15 million against the salary cap and will cost $750,000 in dead cap money. The veteran averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on 115 attempts in 2018 and hasn't averaged more than 3.8 YPC since 2016. The 31-year-old won't have a robust market in free agency.
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said the return of veteran tight end Antonio Gates is "absolutely" a possibility for the 2019 season. Gates has very little left and would likely be third on the tight end depth chart behind Hunter Henry and Virgil Green if he returned as a free agent. He had just 28 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns in a full season in 2018. Gates is no longer fantasy relevant if he returns for another season.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that tight end Will Dissly (knee) has been working out and is doing well in his rehab, but it won't be until training camp that he is back on the field. Dissly played in four games (eight catches, 156 yards, two touchdowns) before tearing the patellar tendon in his knee. With Nick Vannett and Ed Dickson also options at the position in 2019, there's no guarantee Dissly will develop a fantasy relevant role for Seattle coming off this injury.
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said that the team will give tight end Darren Waller "a chance of a lifetime" in 2019 now that Jared Cook moved on in free agency. Lee Smith is currently listed atop Oakland's tight end depth chart, so Waller will be given a chance. However, the Raiders are also expected to address the position in next month's draft. Waller has 18 receptions for 178 yards and two touchdowns in his three NFL seasons and will be a very deep sleeper in fantasy if he's the team's top pass-catching tight end.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said that he expects wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee) back "late in the preseason." The 27-year-old tore his ACL last preseason and didn't play at all in 2018. When healthy, though, he figures to be the team's top wideout. He has just eight touchdowns in his four NFL seasons but caught 63 passes for 851 yards and three scores in 2017 in his only full season. Fantasy owners will understandably be skeptical of Lee in fall drafts coming off a serious knee injury and potentially being slowed early in the year.
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson isn't ruling out the return of running back Darren Sproles, who has yet to make a decision on whether he will retire. Sproles is ready to retire, but he's played in nine games the last two seasons and wants to go out on a good note. He ran the ball 29 times for 120 yards and a score while adding 15 receptions for 160 yards and two more touchdowns in his six regular season games in 2018. Even if Sproles returns, his fantasy upside is all but diminished at this point in his career.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that wide receiver Doug Baldwin will undergo sports hernia surgery on April 4. There is no real timetable for when Baldwin will be healthy heading into next season. The 30-year-old receiver dealt with multiple injuries in a disappointing 2018 season and is no lock to be ready for Week 1 at this point. He caught only 50 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games last year. It's safe to say his fantasy value is dropping quickly.
The Chicago Bears could explore trade offers for running back Jordan Howard this offseason, according to head coach Matt Nagy. Despite scoring nine touchdowns in back-to-back seasons, Howard saw a career-low 250 rushing attempts for 935 yards in his third season in Chicago and first under Nagy. The 2016 fifth-round pick isn't as good of a fit in Nagy's offense and has become more touchdown-dependent for fantasy owners with the Bears. A trade could boost his fantasy stock back up.
The Baltimore Ravens didn't address their wide receiver position in free agency, meaning Willie Snead and Chris Moore, who combined for two touchdowns last year, are currently at the top of the receiver depth chart. Jordan Lasley (inactive all year), Jaleel Scott (coming off Injured Reserve) and Quincy Adeboyejo (coming off IR) round out the group. General manager Eric DeCosta is preaching patience and also expects the team to address the position through the draft. It also speaks to the direction Baltimore is going now that Lamar Jackson is their franchise quarterback. Ravens receivers combined for an NFL-low 45 catches for 520 yards and three touchdowns after Jackson took over for Joe Flacco in Week 11. Mississippi's D.K. Metcalf, Ohio State's Parris Campbell, Iowa State's Hakeem Butler and Oklahoma's Marquise Brown have been linked to Baltimore at No. 22 in the first round.
Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta all but affirmed that veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith will remain with the team in 2019. "One of the greatest strengths of our team right now is our secondary. I think it would be foolish for us to make a strength a weakness for no reason," DeCosta said. Smith is entering his age-31 season and hasn't played more than 12 games since 2015, but he brings a veteran presence to Baltimore's secondary. The Ravens also added All-Pro safety Earl Thomas in free agency.
New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is still letting teams know that the No. 3 overall pick in the draft is for sale. The Jets traded up to the third pick last year from No. 6 to take Sam Darnold. Several teams could be interested in moving up to No. 3 this year in order to take a quarterback. Because of the draft-day trade to land Darnold, the Jets don't have a current second-round pick.
Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt, who has torn his ACL three times since 2014, said he is getting closer in his recovery from his latest knee injury. I cant go (practice), but Im getting closer, Butt said. Im about five months out right now. But rehab is going really well. Im feeling great and I know the trainers are feeling good about where Im at. He finished with eight catches for 85 yards in three starts in 2018 and has a chance to be the primary pass-catching tight end if he can stay on the field. The Broncos re-signed Jeff Heuerman and also have Troy Fumagalli recovering from a sports hernia. Fumagalli has been cleared to practice starting April 2. Quarterback Joe Flacco likes to lean on tight ends, which is good for this group, but it remains to be seen how this situation will play out. Fantasy owners would be better off avoiding Denver's tight end group.
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said the team would like to find quarterback Eli Manning's successor "sooner than later" and would prefer to have the QB spend a year learning behind Manning. With 2019 likely to be Manning's last with the Giants and possibly in his career, that means the Giants will need to draft a young signal-caller this year. New York has the sixth overall pick in the first round, but it's unclear if they'd go after Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins or Oklahoma's Kyler Murray if either are available.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said he thinks wide receiver Chris Godwin can be "close to a 100-catch guy" in 2019. Godwin is expected to fill slot duties this year, a spot that Larry Fitzgerald thrived at under Arians in Arizona. With Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson no longer in town as well, Godwin will be one of the most popular breakout candidates in fantasy football. Don't expect to land him at a discount.
Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said he expects running back Derrius Guice (knee) to do individual work in organized team activities and then join the team full-go at training camp in the summer. "I think Derrius will be fine," Gruden said. Fantasy owners will need to keep a close eye on Guice as he recovers this offseason, but this is good news. The promising running back sat out all of his rookie season due to a torn ACL and had setbacks late last year, but he appears to be fine now. If fully healthy, Guice should have lead-back duties in D.C. with Adrian Peterson spelling him.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Damon Harrison switched agents in the offseason and has already approached the team about signing a new deal, according to a source. The 30-year-old still has two years remaining on his current deal. He'll make $6.75 million in base salary in 2019 and $9 million in 2020 and has workout bonuses of $250,000 for both seasons. Detroit gave up a fifth-round pick for Harrison last year. He stopped the run 30 times in 10 games for the Lions and also added 3.5 sacks and ranked as the third best defensive tackle in the league. Harrison is an excellent run stopper, but that doesn't translate all that well to IDP value.
Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman looks to be much leaner than he was in his first two NFL seasons and looked quick and explosive during an impromptu workout on Sunday. Foreman rushed the ball seven times for negative-one yard in his only game in 2018 that was mainly spent rehabbing an Achilles rupture. He adopted a demanding exercise program and a healthier diet this offseason. The 22-year-old is determined to put 2018 behind him and contribute for Houston this season. He rushed for 327 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 2017 and could surpass Lamar Miller as the lead back in 2019 if he's fully healthy. Foreman could be an excellent sleeper target in point-per-reception leagues if he proves his health throughout the offseason.
The New York Jets re-signed tight end Neal Sterling and outside linebacker Brandon Copeland to undisclosed deals on Monday Sterling has been with the Jets the last two seasons but has primarily been a backup on offense while also playing special teams. He had six catches for 47 yards in five games last year but had his season cut short by a concussion in November. Unless an injury occurs, Sterling won't be fantasy relevant in 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht believes wide receiver Chris Godwin can play inside in the slot much like Larry Fitzgerald did for head coach Bruce Arians in their time together in Arizona. "I'm not saying he's Larry Fitzgerald by any means yet, but play the role like Larry did in Arizona. That made (Humphries) a little easier to swallow," Licht said. With Adam Humphries going to Tennessee and DeSean Jackson being traded to Philadelphia, Godwin has a clear path to more targets in Arians' new offense. Godwin will be a popular breakout candidate after catching 59 passes for 842 yards and seven touchdowns in his second season in 2018.