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Film Room: Big plays are all the Bengals have offensively

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The Bengals cannot seem to put together a touchdown drive without a big play in the pass game.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

In the first two weeks of the season the Bengals have shown that their offense cannot score touchdowns without a big play. They lack the ability to consistently move the ball down the field, and when they are able to string a few plays together, they struggle in the red zone.

The Bengals’ first touchdown of the season came on this flea-flicker. The trick play led to a 33-yard score for John Ross and was preceded by a 36-yard reception by C.J. Uzomah. These big plays accounted for 69 of 75 yards on the three-play drive.

Later in that same quarter, the Bengals scored again on this 55-yard bomb to Ross. This play is partially a bad read by the defense and partially pure speed from Ross.

This is the closest the Bengals got to putting together a real drive.

Their first touchdown in Week 2 against the 49ers came off of a nine-play 69-yard drive. Here the big play came on the first play of the drive rather than the last. 47 of those 69 yards came on this pass to Tyler Boyd. The Bengals were able to close out the drive with a one-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Eifert. This is an improvement from other drives that stalled in the red zone, but the fact remains that outside of one big play the Bengals only had to go 22 yards for this score.

Later in the game (too late to matter), Dalton and Ross hooked up for their third score of the year.

This was a 66-yard touchdown pass. Ross threatens the defensive back with his speed and forces him to turn. When he does, Ross cuts underneath and is wide open.

The rest is all speed. Ross outruns his opponents as they wildly dive for his legs after taking pursuit angles that don’t work against a man with Ross’ speed.


The good news is that Ross is everything we want him to be. The bad news is that the offense isn’t doing much else.

The Bengals need to figure out how to have some consistency on offense. They have been hindered by penalties, sacks, and an atrocious run game.

If it was not for Ross, this team would have a single touchdown on the year. They need to find answers in the run game and stop putting themselves behind the downs with penalties and sacks. Being in must-pass just exacerbates their pass blocking issues.

It is great that this offense can create big plays, particularly with Ross, but that is only one piece of a complete offense. They need to develop a means of consistently moving down the field and scoring in the red zone.