First, let me clarify. By a new record, I meant a bad kind of record. As of right now, the Bengals have the first defense since the 1958 San Francisco 49ers to allow a run of 20 yards or more in each of their first 12 games.
Never before in the history of the NFL has a team allowed a run of 20 or more yards in 13 straight games. According to Joe Reedy, if the Bengals allow the Steelers, more specifically Rashard Mendenhall, to have one big 20-yard plus run, they'll officially own a new record of badness.
The big plays, or what Bengals radio analyst Dave Lap- ham referred to as "The Explosives," definitely hurt them in a big way in Sunday's 34-30 loss to New Orleans. The 2-10 Bengals, which have dropped nine straight, allowed six plays of 20 yards or more that totaled 254 yards. Four were pass plays and two were runs. Two led to touchdowns and the other four were part of scoring drives.
The Bengals are wedged in between the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders ranking No. 24 against the run. They have averaged 124.9 yards a game so far this season compared to the 98.3 yards per game they averaged last season. That's a 26 yard difference per game and even though it doesn't sound like much, it is. Somehow this has happened even though the Bengals have the same defense they had last season, the same defensive coordinator and even some added talent. Weird.
If you're wondering if the Steelers will help the Bengals make history, consider this: The Steelers have had 12 rushes for 20 or more yards so far this season. They rank at No. 5 in the NFL in rushes of 20 or more yards. The Bengals rank dead last in the NFL in allowing runs for 20 or more yards, allowing 16 so far this season. I'm thinking that the Bengals might be setting some new records on Sunday.