Everyone in Who Dey nation is well aware that the Bengals are experiencing trouble putting the ball in the end zone this season. But through six games, it’s getting so bad that this team is approaching some of the worst scoring numbers in a season in the franchise’s recent history.
After the 35-17 trouncing that the Bengals suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots, Lance McAlister pointed out that it’s the first time the Bengals have gone six straight games scoring fewer than 24 points since 2011.
6 straight scoring fewer than 24 point.— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) October 16, 2016
The last time #Bengals went 6 straight games without topping 23 points was 2011.
That 2011 season was Andy Dalton and A.J. Green’s first year in the league, and the Bengals’ offense has been continuously building around them and improving from then on. But suddenly, the offense that ranked seventh in points last season is now tied for 21st in points this season.
And what makes this year’s six-game stretch of less than 24 points worse than 2011’s is that it’s the very first six games of the season. In 2011, the Bengals topped 24 points in their first game of the year, beating the Cleveland Browns 27-17 (granted, it was the Browns, but still).
The last time the Bengals had a streak of more than six games without 24 or more points was the dreaded 4-11-1 2008 season. In 2008, as McAlister has also pointed out, Cincinnati didn’t score 24 points once the entire season.
Last time #Bengals scored fewer than 24 points for more than 6 straight weeks was 2008. They didn't top 23 the entire season.— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) October 16, 2016
That season, the Bengals started 0-6, so at least this year’s team has a better record. It would take a huge downfall for the Bengals to go from as good as they were in 2015 to as bad as they were in 2008. Obviously the team as a whole is better; the 2008 team finished dead last in total yards. However, if the offense can’t start converting at a better rate, it could be doomed for one of the most unproductive scoring seasons in the past decade.
“When you have chances you want to make them and you want to make the plays when you’re out there and we didn't make enough of them today,” Dalton said after the Bengals’ loss to the Patriots. “We felt like we were moving the ball and I felt like all game we were moving the ball, but we’ve got to turn it into points.”
The Bengals aren’t a terrible offensive team; they’re ranked ninth in yards per game, Dalton is third in the league in passing yards and A.J. Green is third in the league in receiving yards (606). This team has the necessary firepower, but they’ve struggled mightily to put up points in spite of their high yardage numbers. This stems from a number of issues; from the lackluster running game, to a passing game that has struggled to put up touchdowns thanks in part to the absence of Tyler Eifert. This team has no reliable scoring option outside of A.J. Green, who’s often double teamed, and with Eifert’s return continuing to be pushed back, the Bengals may be forced to find new options, instead of waiting on Eifert to return. If they can’t find new options, we could see this team continue to put up the worst scoring numbers of Dalton and Green’s careers.
The Bengals face the second-worst scoring defense in the league next week, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns are allowing 29.6 points-per-game, so maybe Cincinnati will finally be able to get over that 23-point hump, and also get back to the team’s winning ways.