The 2021 Cincinnati Bengals never spent a week under .500. They’ve spent all but one week this year having that luxury. Being 2-3 is not terrible enough to throw in the towel, but digging an 0-2 hole in the division is not going to help when the season is near its end in a couple of months.
The Bengals dropped another AFC North game against the Baltimore Ravens thanks to continued offensive struggles and an infamous goal-to-go sequence. The snap counts tell us how close this game really was.
The similarities between these two offenses are fascinating. Cincinnati ran 63 plays to Baltimore’s 65, they each had issues throwing the ball on first and second down, and had great success running the ball on those downs. They each scored a touchdown through the air and gave the ball away with an interception, and opted to be aggressive on critical fourth downs in the second half. It’s no surprise the game came down to a game-ending field goal.
Back seven plan
The Ravens’ offense typically brings out a unique game plan for the Bengals’ defense. Akeem Davis-Gaither (20) played the least amount of snaps against Baltimore in his young career as the Bengals stuck to 5-2 fronts and nickel packages for most of the game.
This was also a week where Tre Flowers (9) could’ve gotten extending playing time, but Flowers wasn’t on the field as much covering tight end Mark Andrews. The one time he was targeted covering Andrews, the Pro Bowl tight end had a wide open touchdown.
Ironman at edge
Sam Hubbard (59) has become such a critical component for the Bengals’ defense in this rivalry. He rarely leaves the field against the Ravens’ offense because of his skillset as a force player and disciplined edge rusher. It was no surprise to see him out there for 18 more snaps than Trey Hendrickson (41).
Tyler Shelvin (9) made his 2022 debut as a practice squad call-up to give Cincinnati a rotation of four defensive tackles. Jay Tufele, who is more of a 3-technique rather than a nose tackle, was a healthy scratch. Due to the nature of Baltimore’s play-calling balance, Shelvin ended up playing as many snaps as Joseph Ossai did on the edge.
Injuries to watch
Offensively, the Bengals have two key injuries to worry about. Tee Higgins (10) is dealing with a sprained ankle, and Jonah Williams (57) has an MCL sprain. Higgins ended up missing most of the game despite never being declared out with injury. Mike Thomas (45) stepped up and played for most of the game in his place. Williams only missed half of a drive as Hakeem Adeniji (7) provided relief at left tackle.
Bengals’ snap counts at Ravens
|Jessie Bates III||S||65||100%|
|Stanley Morgan Jr.||WR||8||13%|