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Wednesday Morning links and notes, part 2

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If you go to Bengals games, careful on your alcohol consumption and whatever choices you make after that.

This blogger thinks that the Bengals should sign Shaun Alexander -- after seeing what we saw last Sunday.

I love it when writers at newspapers reference forums and discussion boards to reference something -- especially when trying to give the pulse of an entire fanbase.

If I were actually lucky enough to be paid to do this gig full time (not dependent on another job to pay the bills), this would be so much fun to do. A breakdown of the Bengals and Ravens:

  • The Bengals abandoned all of their 2 TE sets midway thru the 2nd quarter. They would have 2 TE’s on the field again, but never lined up as TEs. Interestingly, they were more successful on those 5 plays than on any others.
  • It’s a great tribute to the Ravens that they shut down the Bengals 3, 4, and 5 receiver sets. Those plays went 34/117 (3.4 YPPA). These are where the Bengals give other teams matchup fits, particularly with the slot receivers covered by a NB or LB. The Ravens used an impressive combination of blitzes and jamming at the LoS to neutralize these edges.
  • The Bengals ran play action just 3 times (2 incomplete and a 24-yard pass play to TJH). My recollection is that they only ran it twice in last season’s opener, but one of them was the 39-yard TD pass to Johnson (He’s going to remain Johnson for that game just the way Ali is still Clay for the Liston fight) that set off his ridiculous prop comic stylings. Given the difficulty they had getting the offense started, I’m surprised they didn’t try more.
  • The Bengals rarely chip block. During the entire game, I counted only 4 chip blocks and none of the 4 was a legitimate attempt to engage then disengage into the pattern. This was despite the fact the Ravens were getting some good pressure. They kept 14 eligible receivers in for set blocking on 27 pass plays, which was a lower ratio than most of the Ravens 2000 opponents. Of those, 7 of their set blocking assignments came on 3 plays in Q3 where they ran a 2-man pattern (1st and 10 on the Bengals 4th play of Q3, incomplete) and 2 3-man patterns (both also incomplete).
  • They ran the no huddle a total of 9 times, 1 Pass Interference call on CMac, 4 incomplete passes, and 4 rushes for 17 yards. It’s difficult to execute the no huddle in a hostile environment, but teams like the Colts with good line calls and hand signals can do it. Sunday’s game was a triumph of crowd noise and pre-snap movement over the no huddle.
  • The Bengals operated out of the shotgun 10 times. They had a PI on CMac, a 4-yard sack, and were 2 for 6 for 35 yards (4.4 YPP). They also had runs of 7 and 9 yards, each of which occurred on 3rd down, came up short of the sticks, and was immediately followed by a failed 4th down attempt. It’s difficult to polish a turd, but the Bengals probably had their greatest success here, since they did not turn the ball over and averaged over 5 yards per play.