For the first time since the 49-7 thumping of the Jets in Week 8 of the 2013 season, I am absolutely speechless when it comes to the Bengals offense. Coming into this week, I was worried if the Bengals would ever be able to get out of their 2016 slump. Now, a few days after their 559 yard performance, it seems like the sky is the limit for this group. I still don’t believe this team possesses the same talent as last year’s team, and I attribute a good portion of the success to a Browns defense with minimal talent. Those points aside, it just seemed like things were different. Play calling was excellent, the unit was uptempo when it needed to be, and playmakers made plays when they had to. I think the worst thing they did as group all day was waste time on the drive to end the first half. Though, that drive actually couldn’t have ended any better.
You know you had a great day when the biggest complaint I can come up with is that you didn’t score fast enough. Let’s take a look at some tape and relive and break down everything that happened on Sunday. Who Dey!
Far from over the Hill
After seeming like 2016 would be a repeat of 2015 to this point, Jeremy Hill responded with perhaps his most emphatic performance of his career. Hill rushed for a career high 168 yards against the Browns and he did it on only 9 carries. For the day the team as a whole ran for 271 yards. Coming into this past game they only ran for 539 yards in the first 6 games. That means in just one game the Bengals ran for over 50% of their season total. Plays like these are a huge reason why:
The guy you really want to watch in this GIF is Kevin Zeitler. He without a doubt had a career game, mauling defenders all day long. In the gaps to either side of Zeitler the Bengals ran for 70 yards. Add in his pulling plays and Zeitler is directly responsible for about 120 yards of rushing in his own right. Pro Football Focus agreed by giving him a team and game high grade of 88.8 (yes, even a higher grade than A.J. Green). That’s how good Kevin was this week. Following number 68, Jeremy Hill rumbles for 40 here, setting up the team’s first touchdown of the day. It wouldn’t be his last big play.
It’s a different week and once again it’s basically the same play. I keep trying to find reasons to not show this freaking counter trey but they just run it SO well. This time it’s Clint Boling and Andrew Whitworth putting in the work on the pulls here. They don’t get much because there’s no one on the end of the line of scrimmage even there so they seal off a linebacker. One bad angle from a Browns safety and Hill is off to the races. Few backs are better than Jeremy Hill when they’re allowed to get some momentum rolling, and this was probably just the second game this year (he had a nice game against Denver) where we saw that.
Livin’ la vida LaFell
Brandon LaFell continues to deliver as the Bengals number 2 receiving option, and I believe with Tyler Eifert returning to a more regular snap count, we’ll see him be able to make even more plays. Here he runs an amazing stutter and go that completely fools the Browns’ defensive back. The break off into the go draws the corner up and forces him into making illegal contact when he realizes that he screwed up. LaFell is able to keep going and come under the ball for a beauty of a 44 yard touchdown. Brandon isn’t as dynamic of a receiver as Marvin Jones, but he’s extremely consistent and gives the team a presence on the outside besides A.J. Green. Team’s won’t be game-planning for LaFell, but he’s always capable of a few good plays week in and week out.
A.J. Green’s Shrine of Awesomeness
I really don’t have much to say about Green’s performance this week. I could try to break down his two most notable plays from Sunday but you really can’t. He literally just ran down the field and caught the ball because he’s a freak of nature.
and Example 2:
Goodness gracious am I glad we don’t have to play against this man. Easton Ace may grow up allergic to kryptonite because his daddy is straight up Superman.
This is a week to just enjoy just how ridiculously good the offense was on Sunday. Yes, they played against subpar talent, but this was an impressive offensive performance regardless of your expectations. If we can get even 75 percent of that production for the rest of the year, in addition to an increased role for Eifert, then this team will be set on offense. What are your expectations going into the London game? Let me know! It should be a great game.