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8 numbers tell the tale of Bengals’ slow start

Numbers never lie, am I right?

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

These 8 numbers help to shed some light on why the Bengals are 1-2 heading into Week 4 of the 2016 NFL season.

1: The number of games the Lions and Falcons have won when Marvin Jones or Mohamed Sanu have tallied at least 20 receiving yards, respectively

Jones tallied 323 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the past two weeks, but Detroit is currently riding a two-game losing streak, while Sanu’s Falcons lost to the Raiders in a Week 1 matchup as he totaled 80 receiving yards.

This number is of pure coincidence, but it begs the question of whether Jones and Sanu’s big numbers can help contribute to a team victory or just a product of garbage time, or in Jones’ case, a high volume of targets.

2: The number of sacks Will Clarke (who leads the team) has through three games

It’s also the same number Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap have combined for throughout that same timespan. The Bengals’ two superstar defensive linemen have played great, but at some point, the Bengals’ pressures will need to convert into sacks.

7: The number of offensive red zone opportunities which did not translate to points for the Bengals so far this season

That averages out to more than two missed red zone opportunities per game for Cincinnati. The team’s red zone offense has some serious work to do, and that’s hopefully where Tyler Eifert will be able to contribute most when he eventually returns.

8: The number of passes Andy Dalton attempted in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Broncos

Credit Jeremy Hill and the Bengals’ ground game for churning out yards against a vulnerable Broncos run defense. This begs the question why after Hill, who notched 65 yards and a touchdown on his first four carries, only took 13 more carries on the Bengals’ seven remaining meaningful drives. The Broncos dared the Bengals to run the ball, but Cincinnati insisted on passing against the best pass defense in the NFL in the second quarter.

Dalton attempted 25 passes in the second half, and as the Bengals continued to ramp up the volume of passing attempts, the team’s offense became more and more predictable.

12: The number of sacks the Bengals’ offensive line has given up this season

And for those who want to simply pin the offensive line’s issues on Russell Bodine, let me be the first to remind you that the center has given up zero sacks over the past two games, while the rest of the line has given up five. He hasn’t been perfect, but scapegoating the center isn’t going to fix the issues on the Bengals’ line.

Andrew Whitworth has been surprisingly human in 2016, and Shane Ray took advantage of him this week, tallying three sacks from Dalton’s blind side. Cedric Ogbuehi also has a ways to go, both as a pass-blocker and a run-blocker.

You win as a team, and you lose as a team. It’s time for the Bengals’ line to step up as a unit and protect its quarterback, who has already taken four more sacks this season than he took in his entire 2015 season.

13: The number of third downs Cincinnati’s defense has surrendered in 29 attempts over the past two games

13-for-29 translates to a 44.8 percent conversion rate, which isn’t encouraging after the Bengals allowed just four conversions in the Jets’ 12 attempts (33.3%) two weeks ago. On Sunday, the Bengals gave up five first downs via penalty.

20: The Bengals’ margin of defeat, in terms of points, over the past two weeks

The Bengals’ collective margin of deficit in its five 2015 losses (playoffs included) was 25 points. This essentially means that the Bengals haven’t been able to stay in games they’ve been losing this season. We saw it in Pittsburgh, as the game appeared all but over when the Steelers took an eight-point lead, and it happened again in Cincinnati’s home opener, as Demaryius Thomas’ 55-yard touchdown catch sealed the deal for Denver.

52: The number of rushing yards the Broncos gained on 23 rushing attempts (good for only 2.26 yards per carry)

Cincinnati’s defense finally shut down the run, even in a game where Vontaze Burfict didn’t see the field. Unfortunately, the Broncos didn’t need to run, as they exposed Cincinnati’s injury-plagued secondary en route to four passing touchdowns.

This number doesn’t mean much, but it’s encouraging nonetheless, as Anderson was one of the NFL’s hottest running backs entering Week 3. Aside from Dre Kirkpatrick, who was great again this week, the Bengals’ defensive backs noticeably struggled keeping up with Denver’s pass-catchers in coverage.