2-0 in their last two games, 4-1 in their last five, and tied for first in the AFC North. The Cincinnati Bengals’ 0-2 start feels like more than a month ago.
Everything came together during the Bengals’ 35-17 rout over the Atlanta Falcons, and they left us some interesting snap counts to examine.
From the get-go, the Bengals (68) out-paced the Falcons (47). There were minimal answers to Joe Burrow and the passing game as Atlanta’s depleted defense was kept on the field for most of the game. Instead of altering their game script, the Falcons stuck to their run game and dropped back to pass just 13 times. Witnessing their incredible lack of urgency whilst down multiple scores was fascinating.
Hakeem the Dream
It’s anything but a dream when an offensive lineman gets injured, but when the emergency reserve plays well in relief, a nightmare is avoided. La’el Collins (50) exited Sunday’s game for a couple drives due to an ankle injury, and Hakeem Adeniji (22) executed his duty as the line’s swing tackle. In 17 pass-blocking snaps, Adeniji allowed zero pressures of any kind and was the team’s highest-graded blocker (80.4) on passing downs per Pro Football Focus.
Adeniji has done this twice in three weeks at both tackle spots, and they’ve scored each time he’s had to come onto the field. The third-year player has officially found the right role.
We’ll expand more on this topic in tomorrow’s Rookie Report, but Cam Taylor-Britt (28) out-playing Eli Apple (16) is entirely notable. Taylor-Britt said he expected to be rotated in the game, but not to the point where he nearly doubled Apple’s participation.
This is not standard personnel management for a secondary. The concept of rotating cornerbacks in and out of a game is already shaky enough considering the chemistry and communication aspects that go into the equation. This felt like an indictment on Apple’s lackluster performances of late.
Jay Tufele (21) definitely looks the part, folks. He went from 32% snap percentage last week to 45% this week, and he had the defense’s highest PFF grade at 87.2 for his four stops and two pressures. He continued to primarily fill in at 3-technique and 2i and looked damn good at both spots. Zach Carter (34) got the start next to B.J. Hill (36) and played his best game of the season as well.
Where it Hursts
Hayden Hurst (42) didn’t quite get revenge against the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, so a win over his other former team will have to do for now. 62% of the offense’s snaps isn’t a strikingly-low number, but it is a bit smaller than expected for this particular game. Hurst has been working through a groin injury, which may’ve been bothering him a bit. Mitchell Wilcox (26) filled in for Hurst and recorded his most active game since Week 4.
Bengals’ snap counts vs. Falcons
|Jessie Bates III||S||44||94%|