To say the Bengals were bad against the run on Thursday would be an understatement.
On Thursday Night Football, the Bengals’ defense let Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt run all over them. They couldn’t even stop the run in the fourth quarter when they needed a stop the most and knew the run was coming. On Cleveland’s last drive, they ran two plays for 59 yards to set up the put-away touchdown.
Much like Joe Burrow was his own worst critic in Week 1, D.J. Reader was his own in Week 2.
“From the point of attack starting with me and it takes the whole defense to stop the run. That’s what teams are going to do until we stop it. Everybody has to be better,” said Reader via All Bengals.
“We just have to do things in a better way. It is a culture change. We are trying to bring a winning culture to this team, and we have not had that before so you are working on that. That is what comes with it. There is a toughness that comes with it. There are no excuses for it.”
Ironically, Reader was the best run stopper on the team Thursday night. The Bengals brought him in specifically to stop the run, but he couldn’t do it on his own.
Lacking depth on the defensive line didn’t help. Geno Atkins and Mike Daniels were both out of Thursday’s game, and are desperately needed.
The Bengals are going to Philadelphia next week, and the Eagles struggled in their first matchup against Washington. Their offensive line doesn’t look like what it was, and starting running back Miles Sanders is dealing with an injury.
If there’s a time to fix the run defense, the Bengals should hope to do it in Week 3.