The Bengals had a close game, which was a nice change of pace after getting demolished last week. There were actually points where this game was even watchable, and it resembled an actual NFL game.
There are still some weird things we need to discuss in regards to snap count distribution, but we also saw some pretty nice changes that we have to hope continue the rest of the season.
Snap count takeaways for the Bengals’ loss to the Raiders:
- The Bengals ran 63 offensive plays to the Raiders 70. It was fairly close, and a huge reason for that was the defense actually creating stops and not giving up four play drives for touchdowns. What also kept it close was the Bengals winning the turnover battle until Cincinnati’s final drive where Ryan Finley threw an interception. The Bengals also only converted three of their 13 third downs, so they let the defense down in that regard.
- We can start with some good this week! There were several occasions where Joe Mixon (37) and Giovani Bernard (33) were on the field at the same time. The even ran a few misdirection plays to Bernard off plays they had established with Mixon earlier in the game. It is weird they haven’t also worked Trayveon Williams onto the field considering how high they were on him before the season, but that seems like the natural progression considering the running game is finally popping with some creativity. Including Williams allows them to run more plays like this without worrying about working Mixon and Bernard too much.
- Okay, time to get into some weird. The rotation at linebacker is still odd post-Preston Brown, whom the team parted ways with after last week’s game. Nick Vigil (62) didn’t get his usual 90 percent of snaps, and Germaine Pratt (48) played over half the game, but it is easy to say that most expected him to play a bigger role. Instead, the newly activated Hardy Nickerson (10) and Jordan Evans (13) snuck in with some playing time as well. There is nothing against keeping guys fresh, and we shouldn’t pretend that Pratt hasn’t had some bad plays. However, it seems like they should be treating him like they are Finley. They need to find out specifically where he stands in this linebacker group heading into an offseason where they need to make major changes to that group.
- Drew Sample didn’t play this week, and he may not play the rest of the way. You’d think that would mean Tyler Eifert would receive more snaps right? Wrong. Eifert played 23 snaps and C.J. Uzomah had 38. Uzomah also had several plays where he and Finley had trouble connecting. The argument isn’t why Uzomah is getting so many snaps, though. He has proved he can be a pretty nice playmaker when given the chance. It is more why are they still preserving Eifert on an 0-10 team? People question why they didn’t trade Cordy Glenn (who was inactive yet again), but why keep Eifert if you’re only going to play him a handful of plays?
- We also saw a shift in the secondary. Previously, B.W. Webb (41) had been playing a large role out of necessity. Now with William Jackson III (66) and Darqueze Dennard (65) both healthy, Webb has finally settled in for more of what he was meant to be as a third corner type player who covers the slot. We also saw a little bit of Brandon Wilson (11) as the third safety.
- The defensive line rotation was pretty noticeable at the beginning of the game, as several different guys were making big plays. Sam Hubbard (63), Carlos Dunlap (61), Geno Atkins (58) and Andrew Billings (52) led the way in snaps. Josh Tupou (39) was the first guy off the bench, and he had several big plays highlighted by the forced fumble in the first quarter to keep the Raiders from putting points on the board early. Carl Lawson (26) saw a decent chunk of playing time, and we even saw a vintage play where he absolutely ran by the Raiders left tackle for an easy looking sack. Hopefully he gets worked into the rotation more and more as he gets healthier. Rookie Renell Wren (15) got worked into the rotation more as well, and Andrew Brown (3) also got on the field.
- Offensive lineman Fred Johnson was activated this week. He didn’t play an offensive snap, but they may want to consider playing him at left tackle (since there is still obviously something weird going on with Glenn and this team). John Jerry got worked this week, and they need to find out if re-signing Johnson should be a priority this offseason. They could even play him at guard at this point. This is more just leaving no stone left unturned on a very lost season.
Bengals snap counts against Raiders
|#||POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|#||POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|56||LB||Hardy Nickerson Jr.||10||14|
|30||S||Jessie Bates III||67||96|