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Week 6 Bengals vs Bills: Pro Football Focus Grades and Analysis

We've got the weekly stats and observations in from our friends at Pro Football Focus for the Bengals' 34-21 win in Buffalo, and provided our analysis for your consideration.

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Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days, or you mistakenly came to this website despite not paying attention to football in any capacity, you probably know the Bengals are 6-0. That record can only come along side some (mostly) excellent play from the Bengals. According to PFF, the Bengals have the second highest overall team grade through the first six weeks of the season (+44.4) and the highest score in the passing game (+38.6).

We saw the trend of impressive play continue this week, and our friends at Pro Football Focus agree. This week, they handed out some of the best grades on the team to Tyler Eifert (+3.0), Marvin Jones (+2.6), Darqueze Dennard (+2.5), Kevin Zeitler (+2.2), and Andrew Whitworth (+2.0)

Passing

Per PFF, Andy Dalton is averaging 2.36 seconds to throw, the fifth fastest in the NFL. In 2014, he averaged 2.39 seconds (third fastest). In 2013, he averaged 2.43 (second fastest).That's an incredible stat on it's own. It means that Dalton's decision making ability, or at least how confident he is in that decision making, ranks at the very top of the league. Of course your confidence in your decision making is going to be helped when you have plenty of talent to throw the ball to and your offensive line is, for the most part, keeping the defenders out of your face initially.

Dalton did not receive a particularly electrifying score (+0.4), although that had more to do with the fact that he wasn't quite as explosive as he has been in recent games. Dalton's three touchdowns were exciting, although they told us as much about the receivers (Eifert, Jones, Hill) as they told us about Dalton himself. He finished the game with 243 passing yards, although he only completed roughly 66 percent of his passes. That was good for a high QB rating (118.6), but not quite the same love from PFF. It wasn't the most electrifying performance, but it was just as strong as ever.

The story of this week's game, however, was not Andy Dalton. It was a story of his receiving targets. Tyler Eifert (+3.0) and Marvin Jones (+2.6) in particular were electrifying where Dalton wasn't. Jones, in particular, recorded the best score of his entire career for catching nine of his 10 targets and recording a 139.6 WR rating, good for third highest among NFL receivers this week. Eifert was balanced and recorded positive grades in receiving as well as run, pass, and screen blocking. He also hauled in all four of his targets, proving his worth as a big, intimidating safety valve for Dalton in the middle of the field.

Rushing

It was another quiet day for the Bengals' running game, although Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill did find the endzone once each (Hill on a pass). Although he had a few very useful runs this week, Hill is continuing to produce relatively few yards per run (3.5 in Week 6). That said, Giovani Bernard is thriving in the Bengals' offense this year, averaging 6.2 yards per run against the Bills and 5.5 over the course of the season. So  far, he's never averaged more yards per carry over the course of a season. It's even better than what Jeremy Hill averaged last year (5.1).

The Bengals don't seem to be favoring the run to the left side of their offensive line. According to PFF, only six of the team's 28 carries came on that side of the line. On that side, they averaged 4.2 yards per carry, compared to 4.0 for the whole game, and roughly 4.4 when only counting Bernard and Hill's runs.

Offensive Line

As has become somewhat commonplace this year, the Bengals' offensive line performed very well, and this came up against a Bills' defensive line that has ranked among the top in the league this season. Not only was Dalton not sacked once, but he was also only hit once and the only particularly negative play came on a batted pass at the line. That one hit came as part of a total of only six total pressures on Dalton, despite 33 total dropbacks. Andrew Whitworth is putting together a very impressive run of 23 games without allowing a sack and 21 games without allowing a hit.

However, it wasn't all good for the Bengals' offensive line. On one particular occasion, Russel Bodine displayed his much maligned "bad snap" issues and Dalton was forced to take the ball and improvise. The play lead to a touchdown due to the creativity and poise of Dalton, but bad snaps have been a consistent issue for Bodine throughout his career. There's also Jake Fisher, who recorded the lowest grade of the entire offense (-1.5), partially as a result of a very poor run blocking score (-1.1)

Defense

Carlos Dunlap currently ranks first in the NFL in total sacks (6.0), and Geno Atkins is tied for 10th(4.0). However, that stat didn't help Atkins this week as he played his way to his first negative grade of the season (-0.6). This came as a result of recording only a single QB hurry in 40 total snaps, resulting in a poor overall pass rush grade (-1.6). Dunlap, on the other hand, had a great game recording 1.5 sacks, two QB hits, a deflected pass, a tackle for a loss, and three total tackles.

It was also an up and down game for the Bengals' secondary. Dre Kirkpatrick has recorded negatively in every game this year, but he recorded his worst score of the season against the Bills (-3.6). He only allowed seven receptions on 11 targets for 82 yards, but he completely wiffed on two tackles in the run game and recorded a very bad score against the run as a result (-1.9). As a result, he was rated as one of the two worst cornerbacks in Week 6.

Luckily, Darqueze Dennard had a great game (+2.5). That came as a result of only allowing one catch on three targets for five yards (32 snaps in coverage). That one catch for five years came on a third and 17 play, so it was essentially a negligible way to be beaten. He also recorded his first career interception in the NFL on his way to the best grade of his young career

On another note, Adam Jones had a great game as a returner. He recorded three punt returns for 32 yards and two kick returns for 69 yards. His excellence in the return game this week consistently put the Bengals' offense in fantastic field position, and earned him a spot as PFF's best returner in Week 6.