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Week 15 Bengals at 49ers: Revisiting 5 keys to Bengals' victory over San Francisco

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Last week we posted the five things the Bengals needed to do (or avoid) to come away with a win against San Francisco. Now we're going back to see how accurate those keys were and if the Bengals accomplished them.

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A win on the west coast. Kind of funny how this is a story line only when the Bengals lose. I think the demon of traveling has been slayed for this team. Did Cincinnati follow our game plan for victory? They got the win and managed to accomplish a few of our keys in the process.

Stay Balanced

The Bengals had 34 rushing attempts and 21 passing attempts in the win against San Francisco. It didn't seem that the Bengals had handcuffs on the young quarterback AJ McCarron, but they also didn't put this game on his back. Cincinnati's defense was dominant in this game and allowed the offense to just take care of the ball.

The disturbing piece of this is the sentiment of many fans think the offense really struggled. In the NFL, there is not any emphasis placed on continuing to run an offense with a comfortable lead. There are no style points for winning at this level. There really is no point providing game tape when a game is out of reach.

Run the ball

At first glance it seemed the Bengals struggled to run the football. The team managed less than 70 yards rushing on their 34 attempts. As I pointed out in another article, this is not a cause for concern. San Francisco's defense has played very well at home and the Bengals finished better than any other team has so far in that stadium.

Feed the D line

The Bengals defensive front not only had 4 sacks, they were disruptive. They forced Blaine Gabbert into trying to fit the ball in tight spaces before routes were fully developed and the Bengals generated turnovers.

We got to see Peko's belly dance, Geno Atkins manhandle his blockers and Vontaze Burfict with a sack and interception. The defensive unit played lights out and the 49ers gained half their yards in garbage time. This side of the ball played well enough that the offense had no pressure to make plays. This is the kind of effort you need when introducing a young player to the speed of the NFL.

Cover the tight end

Last week I mentioned that Blake Bell had the opportunity to shine in this game. Athletic pass catching tight ends are tough to cover. Bell finished with 4 catches for 43 yards. The Bengals defense played very well and limited his ability to make a difference in the game.

Stay healthy

No terrible injuries resulted from this game which is a sigh of relief after the last. The Bengals will still be without Andy Dalton against the Broncos, but there is still a chance Tyler Eifert is able to return.