The Cincinnati Bengals had a game that felt like a turning point in the Zac Taylor and Joe Burrow era.
Prior to this week, we have seen this team play at a high level, but they have also underachieved at times. It also appeared they would make the playoffs, but questions of how far they would actually be able to go were still well within reason.
That changed when they were able to knock off the Kansas City Chiefs — the top seed in the AFC at the time of playing — this Sunday in Cincinnati. The thing is they also did it with some key players getting knocked out or missing the game.
Here is a look at the Bengals’ snap count takeaways from this week.
Bengals won a crucial battle of snaps
The Bengals ended up running 70 offensive plays to the Chiefs 61. Usually this is more of a general information section to discuss how that transpired than those snap totals actually having an impact on the game. However, this week it is hard to understate how crucial that difference was.
This game started off with a pretty big offensive explosion after a couple three-and-outs. Cincinnati was playing catch-up for most of the game until they took a three-point lead in the fourth quarter. Up until that point, Kansas City hadn’t scored in the second half. They went down and kicked a game tying field goal with just six minutes and one second remaining.
The Bengals next drive was 15 plays long and took up the remaining clock before kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired. As the saying goes, the best way to stop an incredible offense is to keep them off the field. Cincinnati was aided by a few calls at the beginning of the drive, but the real crucial play that created the difference in snaps came when Burrow hit Ja’Marr Chase for a first down on third-and-27. They ran nine offensive plays after that (one being a kneel and another a spike). Some of those plays were called back due to penalties, but that play not only got Cincinnati in field goal range, it kept Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs off the field with over three minutes left only needing a field goal.
Jackson Carman fills in for Quinton Spain
The Bengals saw Spain leave right before halftime after getting rolled up on. The severity of the injury isn’t yet known, but he was replaced by rookie offensive lineman Carman. This was the first time this regular season we saw Carman at left guard for any extended period of time. He drew a tough assignment with Chris Jones and Melvin Ingram on that side of the line. The constant twists and just dealing with Jones is quite the task.
There were a few lapses in communication that led to pressures, but considering he was playing in relief on the left side it wasn’t his worst showing. He continues to show promise given how young he still is and that he is learning a new position. This is the second time we have seen him come in and cover for an injured guard after he lost his job to Hakeem Adeniji right before the bye week. If Spain misses anytime it is pretty obvious that Carman will be the next man up.
Defense didn’t get to substitute much; Logan Wilson didn’t need to
The Chiefs ran a pretty up-tempo offense most of the game, which made substituting players a bit more of a hassle. Because of that we saw many of the starting defensive players play roughly 80 percent of the game. Even D.J. Reader, Larry Ogunjobi and B.J. Hill all split duties playing 35 and 38 snaps each. It seemed like they were trying to take advantage of confusion with Cincinnati’s defense by staying up-tempo. That worked very well in the first half. Luckily the defense didn’t seem to tire out until the end of the game.
A recognition of Wilson playing all of the defensive snaps is in order after it was doubtful he would even be available at the beginning of the week. If he and Germaine Pratt (COVID) are healthy, that would be huge for a playoff run in the coming weeks. Also, Markus Bailey had a solid outing as well when he was out there.
Flowers are blooming
The other big change we have seen recently defensively is Tre Flowers replacing Ricardo Allen’s role as the sixth defensive back to come in. We have seen him several times tasked to cover some of the better tight ends like Mark Andrews, George Kittle, and this week, Travis Kelce. That may be the reason for that change as neither Allen nor Mike Hilton possess the size to cover those big mismatches.
Also of note, Vernon Hargreaves was activated in place of Jalen Davis (ankle). It will be interesting how all the cornerback talent plays out once Davis is healthy and Trae Waynes returns from his time on the COVID exempt list.
What was your biggest takeaway from Sunday’s snaps?
Bengals snaps against Chiefs
|POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|POS.||NAME||Snaps||Percentage of snaps|
|S||Jessie Bates III||61||100|