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Did the Bengals rediscover their run game in Week 9?

It certainly looks that way.

Syndication: The Enquirer Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals can run the ball once again, hallelujah!

The Bengals rushed for 241 yards against the Carolina Panthers, and non-QB rushers averaged just shy of 7.3 yards per carry in a dominant performance. Joe Mixon scored a franchise record FIVE touchdowns with four of them coming on the ground.

Of course, he couldn’t have done it without some of the best run blocking this new Bengals front five has shown this season.

Run Scheme

It’s one thing to get 5+ yards of push and use that to carry your running back to a good game, but when you can open up lanes, that’s when things start to change. There’s been a lot of talk about how the Bengals (specifically Frank Pollack) had to change their run scheme midseason.

Pollack is known to be a very zone heavy guy when it comes to scheme. New additions Karras, Cappa and Collins, however, are all much more proficient when it comes to blocking in a gap or power run scheme. After a couple of weeks of trying to force the zone run, Pollack modified the scheme, and now we get to see beautiful plays like this!

Pass Blocking

There has been a clear strong point for the Bengals’ front five this season, and it’s been their pass blocking. After working out some communication issues early, they have performed at a relatively high level in that area.

However, they seem to struggle dramatically against top level talent. That may come as an obvious statement to some, but a solid front should still be decent against a better rush, though maybe not as dominant.

This week, the pass game was more than covered up by a dominant run performance. That doesn’t mean there weren’t still issues to be caught by those with a watchful eye. It seems that we have seen the best (and worst) that we’ll see out of Jonah Williams this season. He is consistently beat by the same moves and can consistently stuff the same moves. I’d like to see him develop in those areas and become a more well-rounded tackle, but it doesn’t seem likely that will happen.

Collins, while much improved from Week 1 and 2, has a long way to go before I will feel confident in his ability to protect Joe “Franchise” Burrow and become the bodyguard he promised to be.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the early AFC Champion Bengals have flashed. We have seen great things in the pass game, as expected, and now have seen the first flash of potential from the run game. The only thing I’d like to see from this team moving forward is consistency.

For two straight seasons now, this team has been the definition of “any given Sunday”. If they can learn how to play their game and not allow games to be dictated by their opponents, we are in for a fun ride. Every season comes with its ups and downs, but this Bengals team is special.

As a couple of players have said now, if the Bengals can run the ball at teams like they did against the Panthers with a healthy Ja’Marr Chase, Who Dey think gonna beat dem Bengals!?