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Week 11 Pro Football Focus grades: Bengals’ defense steady, offense crushed in sixth loss

For the second week in a row, the Bengals’ defense outplayed an extremely ineffective offense.

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After the Cincinnati Bengals’ sixth loss of the 2016 season, things are starting to seem bleak for a team that surprisingly still has a realistic shot at the playoffs. Helped by a loss this week from the division leading Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals remain only a game and a half out of the lead for the AFC North crown.

With two games still to play against the Ravens and one game left against both the Steelers and Browns, the Bengals are actually still in a decent position, as far as their record goes, to win this division. But, it’s hard to believe the team is capable of turning things around in the final six games. Unfortunately, with the Steelers winning this week, the Bengals’ loss means they are no longer in complete control of their own destiny and must rely on the Steelers losing in the coming weeks to have a shot at winning the division. But, to put together the improbable comeback, they will need to start playing much better. And without two of their top weapons on offensive in A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard that will be difficult.

The offense, in particular, has been awful since the bye week. Much like last week, this week’s round of grades from Pro Football Focus show just how bad things have gotten for the Bengals’ offense. The unit was led by Russell Bodine (75.7), Tyler Boyd (74.9) Ryan Hewitt (74.4), Andrew Whitworth (72.7), Kevin Zeitler (71.6), and Eric Winston (71.0). It’s nice to see a Bengals right tackle finally ranking well on this list, but it didn’t seem to help much as Andy Dalton looked particularly bad this week (45.7).

Again, much like last week, the Bengals’ defense put together a respectable performance. It wasn’t enough to come away with the win, but it probably would have been if the Bengals’ offense had played even a little better. The unit was led by Adam Jones (85.2), Karlos Dansby (83.0), Vincent Rey (81.6), Dre Kirkpatrick (81.2), and Derron Smith (81.2). Unfortunately, two of those players (Rey and Kirkpatrick) suffered injuries during the game and Smith only recorded a significant number of snaps as a result of an injury to starter Shawn Williams.


Despite the struggles of his team and his offensive line, 2016 has generally been a good year (individually) for Dalton. But, he wasn’t good this week as he recorded a pitiful 55 percent completion rating for 207 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. He was particularly awful under pressure, recording the lowest QB rating of his career when facing pressure (0.0).

You can’t even blame his protection this time because, for the most part, the offensive line played well. Clint Boling recorded a particularly low grade this week (42.2), but that was primarily due to an extremely poor run blocking grade (32.1). Otherwise, all of the other offensive linemen received average grades.

One offensive lineman who performed particularly well was Russell Bodine, who earned the highest grade of any Bengals offensive player this week. He only allowed a single pressure all day en route to being ranked as the seventh best center this week, which is fantastic considering he finished last season as the fifth worst.

In Dalton’s defense, it certainly didn’t help that A.J. Green hurt his hamstring after just two snaps. The Bengals tried to fill the hole with a combination of James Wright, Brandon LaFell, and Tyler Boyd. Wright (65.5) and LaFell (67.2) were both serviceable in Green’s absence, but neither were particularly effective. Boyd recorded his first career touchdown and had six catches on eight targets for 53 yards. It was nice to see him given an opportunity to shine. His overall grade wasn’t exactly eye-popping (74.9), but it was enough to keep the Bengals’ passing game competitive without their superstar wide receiver.


Things were generally more positive across the board for the Bengals’ defense, although not enough to make a significant difference. Although the unit as a whole performed similarly to the way they did last week, plenty of individual players had varied results.

In particular, linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Karlos Dansby looked completely different this week. For Burfict, that wasn’t such a good thing as in New York, he had the best game of his career by PFF’s standards and one of the best individually graded games by any Bengals player this season. This week, however, he recorded a poor overall grade (43.3) as a result of allowing catches on all four of his targets, giving up 48 yards in the process. 34 of those yards came after contact, showing just how poor he was at wrapping up his tackles in coverage. He was much better as a run defender (83.0), but it wasn’t enough to make up for his awful day in pass coverage.

Dansby had a rough game against the Giants last week. But, this week, he recorded a respectable overall grade (83.0). That came as a result of only allowing a single catch for four yards while also recording a QB hurry and three run stops.

In the secondary, things went better than expected. Both of the Bengals’ starting cornerbacks (Jones, Kirkpatrick), ranked among the top 20 cornerbacks in the NFL this week. Combined, they only allowed two receptions for 21 yards. Kirkpatrick added an impressive redzone interception to that statline. Derron Smith (81.2) performed well at safety. Unfortunately, his performance was only possible because starter Shawn Williams left the game with an injury after 22 snaps. Smith also played well despite the fact that fellow safety George Iloka recorded a barely average grade (70.3). It’s been a disappointing season for Iloka and it’s clear he’s not the same player without his former position make Reggie Nelson by his side.