If you happen to be a geek like me, you enjoy heading over to NFL.com to peruse the team stats pages. Using the sort function makes for a lot of fun to see how the Bengals match up with the elite teams in the NFL.
If you head over there now, you'll find that the Bengals rank a respectable 6th in the NFL in yards allowed (314.9/gm) and 8th in scoring defense (20.2 pts/gm). But a loyal Bengal fan who has been watching this team all season knows that these stats don't tell the whole story... because the defense we've enjoyed watching the last 7 weeks was not such a joy to watch over the first 8 games on the schedule.
During those first 8 games, the Bengals defense was... well... stinky. After the loss to the Broncos, the Bengals record dropped to 3-5. At that point in the season the Bengals were giving up 357 yards/game and allowing 27.3 points/game. Those stats would rank the defense 19th and 28th respectively. Many of us were left wondering what had happened to Zimmer’s once formidable crew.
Then something happened. I’m not sure exactly what... but I assume it is the sort of thing that would happen if you were to back a tiger into a corner. The Bengals defense woke up... to the dismay of the offenses that have been on their schedule. Since that Denver loss, the Bengals have gone 6-1, and the Bengals have gone from allowing 357 yards/game down to 272 yards/game. They’ve gone from allowing 27.3 points/game down to 12.1 points/game.
So, if you go look at those stats over on NFL.com, and notice that the Bengals defense is 6th in the NFL... stop for a minute and think about those first 8 games. And then ask yourself if there is a defense in the NFL that has outplayed Cincinnati’s in the last 7 weeks (and then remember that your pal Shank did the tough legwork for you below).
Over their last 7 games:
Cincinnati has allowed 271 yards/game and 12.1 points/game.
Denver has allowed 276 yards/game and 15.9 points/game.
Pittsburgh has allowed 285 yards/game and 20 points/game.
Seattle has allowed 290 yards/game and 14 points/game.
Chicago has allowed 310 yards/game and 19 points/game.
San Francisco has allowed 325 yards/game and 22.4 points/game.