After allowing over 250 rushing yards for the third time this season, the Bengals fell to 0-6 on the season. Despite an uplifting start from Brandon Wilson returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Cincinnati found themselves in an early hole in the first half. The Bengals’ defense ended up tightening up after allowing the Ravens to score 17 points on their first three drives, but they were never really able to keep them from at least sustaining drives to eat the necessary clock.
The blame goes squarely on the offense though. They only managed to score 10 points, and expecting to win with that kind of production is simply not an option.
Can the snap count distribution help us figure out what the plan was against the Ravens?
Snap count takeaways
- This week the battle of the snaps was thrown off in a big way by the Wilson return touchdown. It isn’t a bad thing, but logistically it takes away an entire drive of snaps for the offense. Still, the Bengals were out snapped 62 to 81, and it honestly felt worse than that watching the game. The defense was very much in a bend but don’t break mindset, and the offense only had about three drives that added up to a significant drive.
- The first thing that pops out is Giovani Bernard (33) receiving more snaps than Joe Mixon (30). We saw both backs on the field a handful of times, but this probably comes more down to the Bengals being in catch up mode for most of the game. It is clear the coaching staff trusts Bernard more as a pass blocker, which isn’t a knock on Mixon. Bernard is just better in that area. Overall, both players didn’t have a great game behind an offensive line that is almost down to its last man.
- With Dre Kirkpatrick (17) getting knocked out of the game, we saw plenty of Tony McRae (31) in the slot, but we also saw the team give Torry McTyer (7) some snaps, which probably came when William Jackson (64) was getting his shoulder popped back in. Ultimately, it was B.W. Webb (57) who shouldered most of Kirkpatrick’s snaps.
- The Bengals were true to their word and played Germaine Pratt (31) more. He looked like a rookie, which means he had some really good looking plays, but he also had a few plays where he looked lost. Ultimately, Cincinnati went with more base 4-3 looks to try and combat the Ravens’ offense, which opened up the opportunity for Pratt. Nick Vigil (74) and Preston Brown (56) still saw the brunt of the snaps at linebacker. At some point this season Cincinnati is just going to have to accept they need to start Pratt, so they can get him better acclimated to the NFL this year rather than next year. This was a nice step towards that.
- Shawn Williams (40) was playing hurt, so the Bengals had him on a rotation. However, it wasn’t Clayton Fejedelem (16) who took most of his snaps. It was Wilson (65) who played most of the game opposite of Jessie Bates III (79). Aside from Lamar Jackson’s first touchdown where Wilson bit too hard on the fake to the running back, he didn’t look too bad. He isn’t coming for anyone’s job, but he is securing himself as a valuable backup at safety.
- We have to have a talk about personnel for the Bengals offense. This could all change when A.J. Green comes back, but the fact we are in Week 6 and still seeing the same thing is frustrating. Cincinnati continues to mostly run three wide receiver sets. Tyler Boyd (61) is great and Auden Tate (56) had a career game, but there really isn’t much of an excuse to have Alex Erickson (49) play significantly more than the likes of Bernard, Mixon, Tyler Eifert (32), C.J. Uzomah (27) or even Drew Sample (15). You could probably even throw Trayveon Williams (2) into that mix since he was active for the first time this season. This is nothing against Erickson, but these other guys are so much more dynamic, and they should be able to add more to this offense with being able to help block, being bigger bodies or just flat out being more dynamic with the ball in their hands.
- The offensive line is on its last legs, and I mean that pretty literally. John Miller (8) left the game early, which forced Alex Redmond (54) into his old familiar spot at right guard for the rest of the game. This left Michael Jordan as the only remaining backup on the bench. This team needs to hope Andre Smith or Cordy Glenn is able to return soon. Otherwise they need to think about making a move this week. Also can Sample play tackle? Asking for a friend.
- Carlos Dunlap being inactive forced Cincinnati into a rotation of Carl Lawson (63), Sam Hubbard (69) and Andrew Brown (44). It is hard to say this worked out well, but the Bengals weren’t absolutely gashed by running backs up the middle all game long. If the plan was to force Jackson to keep the ball, then they executed the plan. We also saw Lawson get a sack this game when Cincinnati decided to start blitzing Baltimore instead of sitting back and reacting.
Bengals snap counts against Ravens
|#||POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|#||POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|30||S||Jessie Bates III||79||98|