In a recent NFL.com piece that talks about how the Bengals might actually have a brighter future without Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens (check it out), Elliot Harrison charts the league's worst teams for three-and-outs this year. Predictably, the Carolina Panthers have gone three-and-out in 30.4% of their possessions, marking them the worst in the league. Now you're asking, where do the Bengals compare -- of course you are because that was my first thought. So I pulled every Game Book this season, fired up Excel and charted every possession by the Bengals offense (and defense) this season.
Of 180 possessions by the Bengals offense, the Bengals have gone three-and-out on 19.4% of their offensive possessions this year. Additionally, the offense hasn't gone three-and-out more than twice in the past four games and they've gone three-and-out at least five times in three games (Baltimore, Miami, NY Jets). The Bengals have also recorded 24 drives in which they posted 10 plays or more, and eight drives that spanned 80 yards or more. The Bengals have crossed midfield 53% of their 180 offensive possessions. And when they crossed midfield, the Bengals offense scored a touchdown 32.3% of the time and scored at least a field goal 57.3% of the times they crossed midfield. In other words, when you see the Bengals cross midfield, there's a 33% that they'll score a touchdown and nearly a 60% chance that they'll score at least a field goal.
Alternatively, the defense has forced a three-and-out on 22.8% of opposing offensive possessions and allowed teams to score a touchdown 37.6% of the time an opposing offense crosses midfield. The Bengals defense has allowed at least one 80-yard drive in the past four games and in only six games this season did the opposing offense not post multiple drives of 10 plays or more.