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Bengals Run Defense Needs to Play Like They Did Early in the Season

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The Bengals started the season as one of the best run-stopping teams in the league. Through the first eight game of the season, the Bengals had only allowed one team to rush for over 100 total yards. That team was the Denver Broncos in Week 2, who rushed for a total of 131 on the way to the team's first loss.

From Week 2 through Week 9, the Bengals didn't allow one single team to rush for over 100 yards against them. They held the 49ers to 50 yards on the ground, the Bills to 83, the Jaguars to 96, the Colts to 94, the Seahawks to 61 and the Titans to 78.

Then, in Week 10, when the Bengals faced the Steelers, it all went down hill.

For the first time since Week 2, the Bengals allowed a team to rush for over 100 yards when they lost to Pittsburgh in Cincinnati. They allowed 105 yards to the Steelers in Week 10 and since then, they haven't held one single team to less than 100 yards. They gave up 105 yards in Baltimore to the Ravens, the Browns ran for 132 yards against them in Week 12 and then last week in Pittsburgh, the Steelers ran for another 136 yards against Zimmer's defense.

This is a bad trend to start as the Bengals head into their Week 14 game against the Texans, who have one of the best running backs in the league, Arian Foster.

The Texans are the third best running team in the NFL and Foster is the leagues eighth leading rusher. When Foster isn't in the game, Ben Tate, the leagues 18th leading rusher, is. Now that the team has been forced to turn the reins over to their third-string quarterback, T.J. Yates, a rookie, they will run the ball and pass when they need to.

The Bengals need to win this game to make it to the playoffs. If they lose, they'll be forced into a situation in which they would need to win out and beat Baltimore in Week 17 to have a shot at the playoffs.

Their chances of playing football in late January drastically improve if they are able to beat the Texans on Sunday. In order to do that, though, not only will the offense need to be able to put some points on the board but they will need to stop the run like they were able to in the first half of the season. If they can stop Foster and Tate and force the ball into Yate's hands, the Bengals should be able to be victorious in Week 14.