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Bengals vs. Bills snap count takeaways: Lack of depth leads to fatigue on defense

Some fans may have questioned the effort of a few defenders towards the end of the game, but the snaps tell us they never had a chance to rest up for the most important drive.

Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Redskins Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Bengals had a spirited comeback on Sunday, but unfortunately they came up just short of their first win of the season.

Cincinnati also did some interesting things with how they spread out their snaps among players. There are some new things we will have to see if they continue, but there are positives to take away from Wednesday. It wasn’t all perfect, but we can pull a few positives.

Snap count takeaways from the Bengals’ loss against the Bills:

  • The Bengals were out-snapped again this week: Cincinnati ran 61 plays to Buffalo’s 78. The major reason the Bengals were so far behind was the offenses extremely slow start. They almost went into the second half without a single first down. Last week, Cincinnati was at least able to move the ball against the 49ers before stalling out. The Bengals defense did a great job of keeping the game from getting out of hand, but they still struggled to slow down the Bills’ offense from moving the ball consistently.
  • A change at wide receiver slid under the radar. Wide receiver Auden Tate seemingly took undrafted rookie Damion Willis’ starting role as Tate had 54 snaps while Willis didn’t have a single offensive snap. Tate rode this opportunity to a career day with six catches for 88 yards on 10 targets. Alex Erickson (7) also played over Willis. It is also worth noting that despite the consistent struggles of John Ross III, he played every offensive snap for the Bengals. A sign this team still isn’t wavering in their confidence in him.
  • Running backs Joe Mixon (35) and Giovani Bernard (26) saw a more even split of snaps this week. Bernard was also on the field for most of the final drive of the game, which was probably to help with pass protection. It was interesting that rookie Trayveon Williams was active for the first time this season, but he didn’t see a single offensive snap.
  • Speaking of even splits, the tight ends continue to be spreading the love. Tyler Eifert (29) and C.J. Uzomah (28) had just about an even split of opportunity. Rookie Drew Sample also had 10 snaps on the day. It seems clear they are trying to keep Eifert healthy by not over working him.
  • No surprise along the offensive line with Michael Jordan and Cordy Glenn both inactive. Andre Smith and Billy Price played every snap as the replacements for the injured linemen.
  • One issue that was hard to ignore defensively was how exhausted some of the defensive linemen were during the game. The most notable example was defensive end Carlos Dunlap (64) barely eve being able to muster up a jog to force a Josh Allen slide near the end of the game. You can’t blame Dunlap as he had been chasing Allen almost the entire game to that point. The Bengals really only had Andrew Brown (29) to spell Dunlap and Sam Hubbard (70) at defensive end. Carl Lawson was active, but it was obvious he wasn’t healthy enough to play since he never stepped onto the field. Can’t really blame coaching or anything here, it is just unfortunate that Cincinnati couldn’t have more of a rotation to have a fresher Dunlap and Hubbard for when it really mattered.
  • One area where the Bengals did have more of a rotation was at linebacker. Nick Vigil (67) and Preston Brown (58) still saw a majority of the snaps, but Cincinnati got players like Germaine Pratt (10), LaRoy Reynolds (8) and Jordan Evans (6) each saw time on defense. This could be the start to an important trend going forward. At this point it is easy to say most fans want to see what the team has in Pratt, and if he can be a guy we can rely on in the future. This rotation also kept these linebackers fresh later in the game, and you could see a pretty drastic difference later in the game between the linebackers and defensive ends chasing guys down.
  • The Bengals took an interesting approach to filling B.W. Webb’s opening as the nickel corner. Tony McRae (29), Darius Phillips (22) and Brandon Wilson (13) all saw snaps in his place. McRae struggled early, but he eventually started to pick his play up, and Phillips had the interception that helped start Cincinnati’s comeback. It’ll be interesting to see if the Bengals look to continue this committee approach in Webb’s absence.
  • Safety Jessie Bates III was the only defender to play every snap. It seems The Bengals took off William Jackson (75) and Dre Kirkpatrick (75) during goal line plays, otherwise they also would’ve had that recognition.

Bengals’ snap counts against the Bills

# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
83 WR Tyler Boyd 55 90
15 WR Damion Willis -- --
11 WR John Ross 61 100
12 WR Alex Erickson 7 11
19 WR Auden Tate 54 89
18 WR A.J. Green DNP DNP
77 OT Cordy Glenn DNP DNP
71 OT Andre Smith 61 100
68 OT Bobby Hart 61 100
67 OG John Miller 61 100
60 OG Michael Jordan DNP DNP
64 OG John Jerry -- --
74 OG Keaton Sutherland -- --
66 C Trey Hopkins 61 100
53 C Billy Price 61 100
87 TE C.J. Uzomah 28 46
89 TE Drew Sample 10 16
85 TE Tyler Eifert 29 48
82 TE Cethan Carter -- --
14 QB Andy Dalton 61 100
7 QB Jake Dolegala DNP DNP
5 QB Ryan Finley -- --
28 RB Joe Mixon 35 57
25 RB Giovani Bernard 26 43
34 RB Samaje Perine -- --
32 RB Trayveon Williams -- --
96 DE Caros Dunlap 64 82
94 DE Sam Hubbard 70 90
72 DE Kerry Wynn -- --
93 DE Andrew Brown 29 37
58 DE Carl Lawson -- --
97 DT Geno Atkins 60 77
99 DT Andrew Billings 51 65
91 DT Josh Tupou 42 54
95 DT Renell Wren 23 29
98 DT Ryan Glasgow DNP DNP
59 LB Nick Vigil 67 86
57 LB Germaine Pratt 10 13
52 LB Preston Brown 58 74
50 LB Jordan Evans 6 8
55 LB LaRoy Reynolds 8 10
27 CB Dre Kirkpatrick 75 96
22 CB William Jackson 75 96
29 CB Tony McRae 29 37
24 CB Darius Phillips 22 28
23 CB B.W. Webb DNP DNP
36 S Shawn Williams 71 91
42 S Clayton Fejedelem 7 9
30 S Jessie Bates III 78 100
40 S Brandon Wilson 13 17

What is your biggest snap count takeaway from the Bengals loss to the Bills?