It's not a coincidence.
During Cincinnati's opening eight games in 2012, the Bengals offense averaged 23.6 points per game, amassing a 3-5 record that left Cincinnati's postseason goals overflowing with depressed shame. The switch flicked on, the dim light heated with brightness. Against the New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, the offense showed that exuberant swag, averaging 31 points.
Then during the final six games of the season, Cincinnati's offense averaged only 20.3 points per game.
What happened in those three games? Aside from having played three of the league's lesser defenses against the Giants, Chiefs, and Raiders, Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu was a red zone monster, generating four touchdowns and boosting an otherwise anemic offense when pressing inside their opponent's 20-yard line.
Unfortunately during Thursday's practice heading into San Diego in late November, Sanu suffered a stress fracture in his foot and his season prematurely ended on Injured Reserve.
But that shouldn't affect next season.
According to Geoff Hobson with Bengals.com, Sanu is "expected to be running around at some point in the spring camps," which is more than enough time for the second-year receiver to generate timing and momentum with his offensive soulmates.
The question about a No. 2 receiver has been asked for almost a year and it's continuing to be asked, considering people are wondering if Greg Jennings would be a fit for Cincinnati's offense. With Sanu I believe Cincinnati has that player, versatile enough to play most wide receiver positions, but capable enough to shield defenders for hard-fought red zone possessions.