We're all excited about our "D" and I get it, because last year was the first time since I can remember that we finished ranked in the top half of the league. We were twelfth in overall defense, which has to be taken as a positive, no matter how shriveled and pessimistic your soul has become after years of rooting for the Orange and Black. However, being a fantasy guy, I also know my stats, and I would be remiss to point out that Cincy's "D" still has some very noticeable holes on Defense that are concerning.
First, there's the fact that despite being twelfth in overall yards allowed per game, we only finished 15th is passing defense and 21st in rush defense. So we can't jump to the conclusion that just because of our overall finish that the Bengals were a top third defense in the league last year. We finished 19th in terms of overall points given up (ultimately the only stat that matters). By that measure, we didn't even crack the top half of the NFL.
Given that, here's a breakdown of Cincy's Defensive stats last year.
Sacks: 17 - 30th in the league - tied with the Browns (that's humiliating)
Interceptions: 12 - 21st in the league - tied with multiple teams
Touchdowns allowed: 43 - 24th in the league
Yards allowed per game: 205.4 - 15th in the league
20+ yard pass plays allowed: 33 - 2nd Best in the league
40+ yard pass plays allowed: 7 - 13th in the league
Yards per pass play: 6.7 - 10th in the league
Yards allowed per game: 120.1 - 21st in the league
20+ yard rushes: 9 - Tied for 9th in the league with the Ravens
Yards per rush: 3.9 - 10th in the league
Rush TD's allowed: 15 - 20th in the league
Here's what I want to highlight out of all this stuff. First, our pass rush was almost non-existent last year. Second, our pass defense was better than advertised. Third, despite out poor total rush yards, teams we were still in the top third of the league in yards per rush.
In light of this, I'm curious what you think our biggest holes are on defense, and if you think we've addressed those problems effectively in the off-season.
*Stats Courtesy of nfl.com