When looking back on the Bengals 35-20 loss at home against the Browns, what must always be remembered is how the game was far worse than what the final score ended up being. Injuries, coaching or even a lack of effort can be your source of blame, and the truth is likely a mix of all of those things. We’ll touch on each of them in this week’s Bengals snap count takeaways:
- This was one of the first games in a long time where the Bengals actually out-snapped their opponent. Cincinnati ran 74 plays compared to 64 for Cleveland. Why didn’t the Bengals win? Well, Cleveland capitalized on big plays and punched the ball into the end zone almost every time they crossed midfield in the first half. On the other side, Cincinnati often shot themselves in the foot in the first half when they had any sort of sustained drive. Cleveland also seemed to take their foot off the gas in the second half, which led to more irrelevant success for Cincinnati.
- The Bengals still won’t play linebacker Malik Jefferson. At this point, the Bengals’ linebacker situation really can’t get any worse anyway. They already have Vontaze Burfict out there playing 62 snaps even though he is far from effective right now. Hardy Nickerson played two snaps Sunday, effectively getting benched after playing 100 percent of snaps last week. Vincent Rey played 39 snaps, which is pretty much asking teams to take advantage of the linebackers in coverage. Jefferson can’t be the linebacker calling the defense, but why can’t he get some of the snaps going to Rey and Nickerson? At least Lewis finally swallowed his pride and benched Nickerson.
- On offense, Cody Core (31) is still playing a good chunk of snaps. At least this time we saw Auden Tate’s snaps (32) increase to a similar level to Core’s. However, it has become obvious that Core has pretty much no reason to be on this roster. On Sunday, Tate caught two passes for 15 yards, and only about four of his seven targets were catchable even with his own freakish catch radius. Meanwhile, Core caught one of his two targets, the one he didn’t catch was intercepted as he didn’t even look like he expecting the pass. Core also was flagged on special teams on a play that would’ve wiped out a big Alex Erickson return had another flag not been thrown to save him.
- With Dre Kirkpatrick out, William Jackson (63) and Darqueze Dennard (61) played nearly the entire game. The interesting note though is rookie cornerback Darius Phillips (23) looks like he has cemented himself has the fourth cornerback on this team. He didn’t really make any outstanding plays, but he wasn’t at the center of conversation when the Bengals were on defense, which is a pretty good sign for corners.
- Jake Fisher (20) was making his first start of the season for the injured Cordy Glenn. Unfortunately a back injury cut his time short, and we all were reminded at least one more time about just how bad Cedric Ogbuehi (54) is. The Bengals added Glenn and Bobby Hart in the offseason, but considering how bad their offensive line was last year, it is really frustrating that they didn’t try to do more and that Fisher and Ogbuehi are their backups at offensive tackle. That’s especially true considering just how badly Ogbuehi looked. He’s lucky the refs let him get a little grab-happy with Myles Garrett.
- Jessie Bates played every defensive snap, which at this point has become the norm. If you’re looking for a bright spot from Sunday’s game defensively it is that Bates never quit, and he looked impressive throughout the game. He is a great addition to this secondary.
- The Bengals are so thin at defensive tackle that offensive lineman Christian Westerman played a snap on the goal line along the defensive interior. That play turned into a Browns touchdown, because of course it did. Is Marvin Lewis trolling us at this point by putting Westerman in the game like that on defense when he can’t get a chance on offense? These are the important questions.
- Jeff Driskel saw extended playing time as Andy Dalton went down early with a thumb injury. Driskel ended up playing 44 snaps and leading two touchdown drives. He gave fans a tiny glimmer of hope in the second half, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.
Bengals Snap Counts vs Browns
|#||POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|#||POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|63||OG||Christian Westerman||1 (defensive)||1|
|56||LB||Hardy Nickerson Jr.||2||3|
|30||S||Jessie Bates III||64||100|