There were plenty of notable performances as we got to see the offense help out the defense for the first time in a while. Ultimately, this team found a way to win, and we are here to examine some of the noteworthy observations connected to playing time.
Here are the snap count takeaways from the Bengals first road win of the Zac Taylor era:
- The Bengals really dominated the overall snaps this week. Cincinnati ran 72 plays to Houston's’ 52. That is fairly surprising given how well the Texans were moving the ball in the second half, but it probably goes back to their slow start in the first and the turnover early on a potentially game-winning drive.
- The receivers had an interesting split among them this week. The absence of a concussed Tyler Boyd created an opportunity for Alex Erickson (62), who ended up playing the second most amount of plays only behind rookie Tee Higgins (64). That is right, Erickson was on the field more than A.J. Green (56), and he arguably had as many if not more impactful plays. Erickson had six catches for 88 yards including a couple important drive sustainers. Erickson took advantage of his opportunity in a more traditional role as a receiver rather than gadget/gimmick player with plays designed for him, which begs the question why he was ever used on plays like jet sweeps when he is clearly better off running routes.
- One slightly interesting move was Bobby Hart (72) was taken off the field momentarily for Hakeem Adeniji (5) late in the game, but Hart did return to finish the game off. It was hard to pinpoint the exact moment or what led to it. It is noteworthy as Hart almost cost the Bengals 15 yards late in the game when he took exception to a hit on Brandon Allen as the quarterback was trying to scramble for a game-sealing fist down. It was a play that Taylor clearly wasn’t happy about as it may have cost them a potential field goal opportunity. This opens up the question of how short is Hart’s leash heading into the offseason?
- Logan Wilson and Jordan Evans both missed this game, and Cincinnati used this opportunity to give Germaine Pratt (39) and Josh Bynes (40) a bigger piece of the rotation. Akeem Davis-Gaither (13) was still used in what seems to be a limited package. We didn’t see as much of Marcus Bailey as we possibly could’ve. He didn’t help his case for playing time when he got beat on the goal line by David Johnson for a touchdown in pass coverage and then followed that up with a holding penalty on Brandon Wilson’s big kickoff return. It seemed like that may have been his welcome to the NFL moment.
- The defensive struggles showed up again this week. Maybe it was because this team wasn’t playing a struggling Ben Roethlisberger or Colt McCoy. Some may put it solely on LeShaun Sims (34) coming in for the injured William Jackson (18), and that was a factor as Sims was constantly picked on in coverage. However, Johnson rushed for almost 100 yards in the third quarter alone, and those yards came in chunks. You could see plenty of players getting dragged along trying to go for the strip or just missing tackles outright. Fans who try to put the entire collapse of the defense on Sims are going to miss a more wide spread issue that makes you wonder if this late season defensive surge is trick or treat.
- It took a lot of...let’s call it confidence for Taylor to start Brandon Allen over Ryan Finley after Finley just upset the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Those who watched the game can understand why that move was made as Finley’s offense was more based around surprising Pittsburgh with the read option. It also needed Cincinnati’s defense to give Finley short fields. That was great, but it is almost like the grifting formula, where it only works if you’re bouncing from town to town before the town folk get wise to what you’re up to. It wasn’t going to work this time against a new team, but it may also explain why the screen game worked so well as defenders were being aggressive in attacking their gaps. Allen also ended up having a career day with 371 passing yards and two touchdowns, and he made some of the biggest plays of the year hitting guys like Higgins, Green and Erickson on deep passes to help get scores on long drives; something Finley probably wouldn’t have been able to do consistently.
- Samaje Perine deserves more playing time. He had 29 offensive plays this week, and that just needs to be more. He had the big highlight play with his 46-yard touchdown run, which alone is great. But even if you take away that play, he had 90 total yards on 16 touches, which means he averaged just over 5.5 yards per touch without his biggest run of the day. That is eight yards per touch when you add the 46-yard score back into the equation. It should be noted that the Texans have one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, but when your team is operating with practice squad wide receivers getting critical targets, you need to play the hits. This isn’t to say Giovani Bernard (44) deserves less playing time. You need to find a way to get your playmakers on the field as much as possible, especially when you are missing as many players on offense as Cincinnati has been.
Bengals snap count takeaways from win against Texans
|POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|S||Jessie Bates III||52||100|