Jamison Hensley, author of the ESPN's AFC North blog, details an interesting statistical line. Usually we're so caught up with how our quarterbacks perform that the defense, really the core of this squad today, is overlooked in similar perspectives.
However, according to ESPN's AFC North Blog, the Cincinnati Bengals defense only allowed four of 19 passes that traveled 30 or more yards through the air. The 21.1 percent completion rate ranks sixth-best in the NFL, but third-best in the AFC North.
"The Bengals gave up the second-fewest completions on those throws, but three of those four completions resulted in touchdowns," writes Hensley. "The Browns intercepted three passes on those throws, best in the division. And the Ravens were one of 10 teams to allow one or no touchdowns on throws over 30 yards in the air, and it will be interesting to see how that number changes with two new starting safeties this season."
Number of passing players over 30 yards (including yards after the reception) by the Bengals secondary in 2012.
One contributing factor is Cincinnati's steely pass rush. As a team, the Bengals generated 52 quarterback sacks but that's hardly the entire focus. An intense pass rush can reduce a quarterback's comfort zone with deeper routes, deflecting their attention for short "hot read" routes. Cincinnati added 62 quarterback hurries and 186 hits on the quarterback in 2012.
It truly was a united effort.