The Cincinnati Bengals’ loss in Pittsburgh was about as ugly of a game as we’ve seen from Cincinnati this year.
As you can imagine, the Pro Football Focus grades and statistics for Cincinnati did not reflect well. That was even more true along the offensive line, which has (rightfully) become the punching bag for this team’s shortcomings.
Every member of the Bengals’ offensive line with more than 30 passing snaps allowed at least one quarterback pressure. Left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi allowed one quarterback hit and finished with a PFF grade of 69.9. That’s not good, but it’s actually a heckuva lot better than what we’ve seen for most of his career, as evidenced by Ogbuehi’s 42.9 PPF grade for the season. That’s good for 63rd out of 74 eligible offensive tackles.
Right tackle Jake Fisher allowed one sack and one quarterback hurry, though he did finish with a respectable 75.6 grade. He too has been awful for much of this season, which is reflected by his 46.2 overall grade (ranked 56th).
It’s nice to see both players at least taking some semblance of baby steps towards improvement...
Left guard Clint Boling had his worst game of the season, allowing one sack and two quarterback hurries. He still ranked 19th among offensive guards this season, which is actually three spots ahead of Kevin Zeitler (take that Browns).
Tight end Tyler Kroft ran 29 routes and had four receptions for 23 yards, giving him a yards per route run of 0.79, the fourth-worst rate out of the 29 ends that qualified in Week 7. Leading up to Week 7, Kroft had been the 16th most efficient right end with 1.45 YPRR. Even so, PFF still ranks Kroft 15th among tight ends this season, which is 15 spots better than Tyler Eifert.
And to be fair to Kroft, his Week 7 struggles were due more to the passing game struggling as a whole. Andy Dalton could barely get off a pass in the second half as he was under constant fire.
Speaking of passes, when not pressured, Dalton had a 70.6 passer rating on 25 drop backs, so he stunk even when the pocket was clean. When Dalton was pressured, he had a 39.6 passer rating on 11 dropbacks, he was sacked four times, and had 33.3-percent accuracy. PFF now ranks Dalton 11th among quarterbacks.
The fact that Dalton is almost a top-10 quarterback with all of these issues is amazing, until you remember he threw the ball away on fourth down.
When targeted, wide receiver A.J. Green had the sixth-worst passer rating of Week 7 with a 46.7 passer rating on five targets, trailing, J.J. Nelson, T.Y. Hilton, Roger Lewis, Seth Roberts, and Demaryius Thomas. Even so, Green is still ranked third among receivers by PFF.
Running back Joe Mixon was one of the few offensive bright spots. He had the best breakaway percentage in Week 7 with a 91.3 percent of his yards coming on runs of more than 15 yards. PFF now ranks Mixon 16th among running backs. Jeremy Hill doesn’t even have enough snaps to qualify, but his 48.4 grade would rank him 52nd out of 54 eligible backs...
On defense, cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III performed well against the pass. Kirkpatrick allowed a 56.3 passer rating against on three targets, and Jackson allowed a 39.6 passer rating against him on six targets.
Darqueze Dennard had a poor outing, as he surrendered a 130.2 passer rating on four targets, which included a touchdown to Antonio Brown. As for overall PFF rankings, Kirkpatrick ranks 94th out of 112 eligible cornerbacks. Dennard is at 57th, while Jackson leads the team at 23rd.
But Jackson will go back to the bench when Pacman returns...
Outside linebacker Nick Vigil allowed every pass targeted at him to be completed. Vigil allowed three receptions for 75 yards and allowed 3.26 yards per snap in coverage, the worst any player allowed in Week 7. Vigil is supposed to be one of this team’s better coverage linebackers, so for him to struggle here made him worthless in Pittsburgh. PFF now ranks him 52nd among 80 eligible linebackers.
Edge rusher Carl Lawson was on the field for 12 passing snaps and had one QB hit and one QB hurry for a 12.5 pass rushing productivity. While lower than his season PRP of 16.3, it’s still a very good rate, as he was one of the few bright spots in Pittsburgh. PFF now ranks Lawson 20th among 106 eligible edge defenders.
Perhaps the biggest reason why the defense was not itself in Pittsburgh was Geno Atkins having his worst game of the year with only one QB hurry on 18 passing snaps resulting in a 4.2 PRP.
In the run game, Atkins had only one stop on 23 run snaps resulting in a 4.3 run stop percentage, the second-worst of any defensive tackle that had at least one stop in Week 7.
When Atkins is this bad, the Bengals’ defense is guaranteed to struggle. One bad game didn’t hurt his overall grade much, as PFF ranks Atkins 10th among 121 eligible interior defenders.
Oh, and since we’re talking PFF grades, might as mention Russell Bodine is ranked 28th out of 35 eligible centers. Amazingly, his 46.6 PFF grade has him in danger of finishing 2017 with the lowest mark of his career (previous low was 46.1 in 2015).
But we already knew Bodine was awful, Joe Mixon was the team’s best running back, and William Jackson needs to play more. Too bad the coaches don’t. I mean, running Hill behind Bodine is about as big of a middle finger to a team’s fanbase as it gets.