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Bengals at Colts snap counts: What was up with the D-line?

Carlos Dunlap has a legitimate gripe for playing time.

Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts

The Bengals really gave their fans a new experience this week. They jumped out to a 21-point lead early only to squander it late in the game to the Colts.

There is plenty to be said about how that reflects on play calling and execution, but here in this post we are going to examine if there is anything that can or should be changed as far as playing time goes.

Here are the snap count takeaways from the Bengals loss to the Colts:

  • The Bengals once again out snapped their opponent. This week the Bengals ran 73 plays to the Colts 63. Why did they lose then? The Colts came away with more touchdowns on their extended drives than the Bengals. We probably sound like a broken record, but that really is it. Indianapolis scored four touchdowns and the only time they were forced to settle for a field goal was at the end of the game to give themselves a four-point lead. It really is just that simple, although we can at least say they looked better in the red zone this week.
  • The thing on everyone’s mind from this week has to be “where were Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins?” The simple answer is they were on the bench, and the worst part is we don’t really know why. It is easy to assume that Atkins (18) may not be fully healthy, so they don’t want to risk him aggravating his injury. However, having Dunlap (28) play this backup rotational role is confusing given that Sam Hubbard is out for a few weeks after being placed on injured reserve. Dunlap may be more effective saving him for obvious passing situations when you have equal to better talent out there in his place, but having guys like Amani Bledsoe (29) getting just as many snaps as him seems like a strange personnel decision. The talk may need to become if Dunlap will be shipped off during the trade deadline if they view him this way while paying him a premium, or they could just play him.
  • The bright side from the defensive line is rookie Khalid Kareem (25) saw a good chunk of the snaps, and he has had flashes of being a productive player. Xavier Williams also played 34 snaps, which tied him with Christian Covington for the lead at defensive tackle, he also had a few moments where you couldn’t help but notice him.
  • There was a slight change at wide receiver this week. Tee Higgins still led the group with 59 snaps, but it was actually pretty even among Tyler Boyd (57) and A.J. Green (58) as well. Auden Tate was inactive with an injury, though. That had many fans expecting John Ross to have an opportunity to really try and show his worth again. However, it was Mike Thomas (26) who saw most of the snaps as the fourth wide receiver. Even Alex Erickson (3) saw more snaps at wide out than Ross’ single play. Considering Ross has been a healthy scratch for a couple of weeks now, it isn’t that surprising to see him not get much playing time, but this really cements the fact that Ross’ days are numbered here in Cincinnati.
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither (26) saw a dramatic drop in snaps this week, but that could be more of an indicator that they plan on using him more when they play the Ravens than an actual demotion. Most offenses don’t allow a defense to comfortably lineup in a traditional 4-3 like Baltimore’s offense does. That means there will be far fewer snaps for that position since they ran two linebackers most of today rather than three. Germaine Pratt and Josh Bynes each led the group with 37 plays, and Logan Wilson wasn’t far behind with 33 snaps. Cincinnati seems comfortable rotating these guys pretty evenly.
  • We saw a significant amount of Giovani Bernard (35) this week. Even before Joe Mixon (39) left the game with an injury, Bernard got a goal line carry over Mixon for the game’s first touchdown. We even saw a couple plays where both of them were on the field at the same time, and those plays were pretty well designed and impactful. Here is to hoping we actually see more of that considering how both of these guys can be pretty big play makers.
  • We have to talk about the secondary. There was some news this weeks where Darius Phillips seemingly called out the team to not waste his talent (I’m not here to say who that tweet was meant for). That idea was also shared by Shawn Williams as well. This week Mackensie Alexander returned from injury, and we were left to wonder how that would impact Phillips and LeShaun Sims. The answer is that both split time pretty equally. Phillips had 30 snaps compared to Sims’ 34. Both got picked on pretty frequently as well. They especially struggled with getting matched up on tight ends. Hopefully Phillips and Sims are able to bounce back next week, because it is clear that until one does this will be a rotated position.

Bengals’ snap counts against Colts

# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
83 WR Tyler Boyd 57 78
80 WR Mike Thomas 26 36
12 WR Alex Erickson 3 4
18 WR A.J. Green 58 79
85 WR Tee Higgins 59 81
19 WR Auden Tate DNP DNP
11 WR John Ross 1 1
73 OT Jonah Williams 73 100
68 OT Bobby Hart 73 100
74 OT Fred Johnson 4 5
65 OG Keaton Sutherland DNP DNP
60 OG Michael Jordan 73 100
77 OG Hakeem Adeniji -- --
62 OG Alex Redmond 73 100
66 C Trey Hopkins 73 100
53 C Billy Price -- --
86 TE Mason Schrek -- --
89 TE Drew Sample 55 75
82 TE Cethan Carter 23 32
9 QB Joe Burrow 73 100
5 QB Ryan Finley -- --
34 RB Samaje Perine 3 4
28 RB Joe Mixon 39 53
25 RB Giovani Bernard 35 48
32 RB Trayveon Williams DNP DNP
96 DE Caros Dunlap 28 44
91 DE Amani Bledsoe 29 46
90 DE Khalid Kareem 25 40
93 DT Andrew Brown 13 21
58 DE Carl Lawson 43 68
97 DT Geno Atkins 18 29
71 DT Xavier Williams 34 54
69 DT Kahlil McKenzie 17 27
99 DT Christian Covington 34 54
55 LB Logan Wilson 33 52
57 LB Germaine Pratt 37 59
56 LB Josh Bynes 37 59
50 LB Jordan Evans -- --
51 LB Markus Bailey DNP DNP
59 LB Akeem Davis-Gaither 26 41
21 CB Mackensie Alexnder 55 87
38 CB LeShaun Sims 34 54
22 CB William Jackson 62 98
27 CB Tony Brown -- --
20 CB Torry McTyer -- --
23 CB Darius Phillips 30 48
36 S Shawn Williams 10 16
24 S Vonn Bell 63 100
30 S Jessie Bates III 63 100
40 S Brandon Wilson 1 2