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Chalk Talk: Why Bengals pass defense struggled vs. Colts

What happened to the Bengals 21-point lead?

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After jumping out to a 21-0 lead just after the 1st quarter ended, the Bengals defense gave up 3 touchdowns before the half.

They were not able to pressure quarterback Philip Rivers on a regular basis, and he completed 14 of 21 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 2nd quarter alone.

The problem was not playing zone defense. The Bengals were actually very balance between zone and man and over the course of the game they gave up similar numbers in each.

Teams will generally play more zone when they have a big lead. The reason being that it is a lot easier for an offense to score on one play when you are playing man.

Star cornerback William Jackson may have made T.Y. Hilton a non-factor in this game, but the Bengals only have one of him. To play man continuously you need to be able to lockdown all 5 potential receivers and that is no small task, particularly without Trae Waynes across from Jackson.

Filling in for Waynes is a combination of Darius Phillips and LeShaun Sims, both of whom have struggled this season. Each was responsible for giving up a touchdown in this game.

Safety Vonn Bell had some struggles, but we knew when Bell was signed that he was an excellent box player who struggled in deep field zones and man coverage.

In this video I take a look at the issues the Bengals had in pass defense and how Jessie Bates III nearly bailed them out at the end.

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