The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Denver Broncos yesterday. Most will say they survived, but the defense earned that win for the entire team. Is there anything to take from Sunday’s snap counts that can help us better understand why Sunday’s game went the way it did?
No consistency offensively
The Bengals offense struggled on third downs only converting four of their 13 attempts. It seemed like the Broncos were able to hold up man coverage very well against the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, which most teams can’t do.
These struggles led to Cincinnati only running 53 plays compared to Denver’s 75. The Broncos converted seven of their 16 third downs, but they also had seven more total first downs overall on the day.
The Bengals defense really did its job, though. They allowed one long touchdown on the day, but other than that they forced the Broncos to have to drive for most of their touchdowns. A timely turnover and a six point swing off a Denver missed field goal before half really did decide this game. The fact Cincinnati played turnover free decided this game.
Defenders getting more time
The defense was the star of the show, and we saw some players that we’ve been waiting to see more of get some playing time.
The most obvious was cornerback Trae Waynes starting in place of Chidobe Awuzie who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list late this week. Waynes was billed as a prized free agent signing for 2020, but his injury luck has been down right bad. This was his first game being activated of his second stint on the injured reserved this season. He played almost all of the game. There were ups and down, but his most memorable play was probably getting beat for the Broncos’ only touchdown on the day. There are serious questions as to whether Cincinnati will keep Waynes past this season, and whether he will continue to start when Awuzie returns to the lineup.
Second year linebacker Markus Bailey got to play 34 snaps. He was inserted into the lineup when Joe Bachie was ruled out of the game with a knee injury on the same play Bronco’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out of the game. Bailey was a seventh round pick last season, and he has mostly played special teams during his career. He made a few plays in the passing game in coverage as well as recording half of a sack with Germaine Pratt on a blitz. We may see even more of him next week if Logan Wilson and Bachie can’t go.
Defensive end Khalid Kareem probably made the game saving play. He was inactive the past few weeks due to injury, but he played 13 snaps this week. He had some good pressures as well as a tackle for loss. The play we will all look back on was when he took the ball right out of Drew Lock’s hands as Denver was preparing to score a go-ahead-touchdown in the second half. He would later be ruled down by contact after fumbling attempting to return the fumble he recovered, but that play really changed the course of the game.
Fred Johnson and Jackson Carman get their time
Veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury, and Isaiah Prince missed this week due to a non-COVID-19 illness. That left Fred Johnson as the man standing there when opportunity knocked. Luckily, he didn’t have to face a player like Nick Bosa this week. He generally looked serviceable as a pass blocker, but he had some nice run blocks. Many will look at the sack counts and squint in pain, but so many of those were due to coverage holding up down field.
Rookie right guard Carman came in when Hakeem Adeniji went down after he got rolled up on during a draw play. The rookie looked pretty good in both the running and passing game. The rookie has been benched since around the bye week for Adeniji, but he may have shown enough to get a more extended look at guard or maybe even kick out to tackle if he has done any practicing out there.
What was your biggest takeaway?
Bengals snap counts against Broncos
|POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|S||Jessie Bates III||75||100|