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Film Room: Bengals offense came back to life last Sunday

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After the Colts' defense shut down Cincinnati's offense last week, the game against the Ravens became a must-win. Barring two turnovers, Dalton, Sanu and company looked good. We go to the tape to see where things went right for the Bengals.

Nice rebound win for Dalton and the Bengals last Sunday against the Ravens
Nice rebound win for Dalton and the Bengals last Sunday against the Ravens
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After the Colts' defense shut down Cincinnati's offense last week, the game against the Ravens became a must-win, and barring the two turnovers, Dalton, Sanu and company looked good. We go to the tape to see where things went right for the Bengals.

With no A.J. Green, no Marvin Jones Jr. and no Tyler Eifert, Hue Jackson again had to find other ways to move the ball down the field, and this time the team was successful. Cincinnati was actually able to produce some big plays (and CLUTCH big plays), like that big pass from Dalton to Sanu on 3rd&10 in the game-winning drive, or that Sanu reverse, or that first throw in the slant route that was high but the former No. 3 receiver now turned into No. 1 was able to grab for a gain of 48 yards.

Overall the Bengals played good football, with their share of issues in the running game and the two fumbles as the only major flaws (plus the occasional drop by Little, who had a great game nonetheless). The offense produced 377 total yards and Andy Dalton completed 21 of 28 passes, with one of his best efforts this season, so far.

Watching the tape I saw one drive in particular where the offense excelled, even though they could only score three points on a 33 yards field goal. The Ravens had just got a touchdown and the two point conversion, and the Bengals' were just up three, 17-14, with two minutes left in the third quarter. Let's take a look at it.

Cincy did a great job beating Baltimore's defense, taking advantage of loaded boxes and some off man coverage by the cornerbacks. But they pushed the football downhill, playing some aggressive offense. This pass was the second play of the drive, which kicked off with a pass to Bernard too. Hue and Andy got Tate involved, and Dalton made a great throw trusting his receiver on the hitch route and anticipating the comeback.

Trusting Tate to make plays (I never thought I'd say that) paid off two plays later, when he gained 17 yards on this in route, against cover 1, off play action. It was a nice design to make the linebackers stay home, and Cincy was in mid field already.

Mo Sanu, again leading the team in yards and making plays all over the field, contributed with 29 yards on two catches, and suddenly the Bengals had a great shot at putting the game out of reach for Baltimore.

The key play was this overthrow by Dalton on 3rd&3, when Greg Little had already beaten the cornerback and was open in the end zone. This is what he was signed for, to provide one-on-one offense, and he delivered this time, but Andy could not make the throw.

It was good to see the Bengals unafraid to take some shots down the hill, and this drive made me think they could actually be pretty good with all their starters back. I believe they saw what went wrong in Indy and with some help from the depleted Ravens' secondary, Cincy played way better last Sunday.

Also, Sanu is pretty good.