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Bengals snap counts vs. Bucs: Defense exhausts depth in second half comeback

An all-around effort by Cincinnati to flip the script.

NFL: DEC 18 Bengals at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When TB12 is playing quarterback, you’re likely to see something miraculous happen. Just not at his expense.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was as special as it felt. 34-0 runs rarely ever happen in the NFL, especially not after falling down 17-0 right before halftime. The entire third quarter—wherein the Bengals scored 17 points and forced five turnovers—resembled that of an avalanche toppling the player we call the Greatest Of All Time. The snow just kept rushing down the mountain, freed after two decades worth of build up.

Brady has played long enough where he’s been shellshocked before, but not quite like this. Let’s see what the snaps can reveal about the game.

Total Snaps

You can tell how much the game flipped just by looking at the snaps. The Bengals ran just 14 offensive plays to the Bucs’ 40 in the first half. The Bengals would run 52 plays in the second half, while the Bucs had exactly 34 in comparison.

Tampa Bay stayed on top in the final count, 74-66, but the third quarter turnover extravaganza changed the game in a way we’ve never quite seen before. Cincinnati’s defense gave its offensive counterparts great field position for the entire period, and it resulted in an incredulous comeback victory.

Hometown hero

This was not the first start for Mitchell Wilcox (60), but it meant a lot more for the Largo, FL native to be out there for over 90% of the Bengals’ snaps. The 58th snap saw him leak out to the flats and catch a crafty play action pass from Joe Burrow for his first NFL touchdown in the stadium he called home during his college days at USF. 60 snaps also tops his career-high 53 from last week.

Devin Asiasi (17) played a limited role as the Bengals are riding with just two healthy tight ends on the roster. Hakeem Adeniji (6) has been used sparingly as the de facto third tight end in jumbo sets.

And then there were three

Cincinnati’s defensive line was already without Trey Hendrickson, and a calf injury to Sam Hubbard (27) only made the situation at defensive end more dire. Cam Sample (56) got the nod as the base end to replace Hendrickson and played nearly the entire game to help compensate the loss of Hubbard. Joseph Ossai (37) and Jeff Gunter (18) shared the field often on passing downs to round out the remaining healthy edge rushers.

Hubbard is expected to be out for a few weeks, so a move will have to be made to bolster the remaining depth. Expect Raymond Johnson III and/or Owen Carney to be elevated off the practice squad at the very least.

Thrown into the fire

The training wheels were all the way off for Dax Hill (66) in his first-ever NFL start at slot cornerback. Tom Brady tested the rookie safety often as both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans were aligned in the slot throughout the game.

Hill ended up playing more than Cam Taylor-Britt (58) as the second-round pick at cornerback suffered an apparent shoulder injury. This prompted fellow rookie cornerback Allan George (16) to come off the bench and finish the game in his spot. Tre Flowers (14) also had his most active outing since Week 11 and notched his fourth-career interception.

Conventional wisdom states cornerback and defensive end are the two most important position groups in a defense, and the Bengals managed to force four turnovers with reserve players occupying damn near every spot at those positions. It was an incredible finishing performance to say the least.

Bengals snap counts vs. Bucs

Player Position Snaps Percentage
Player Position Snaps Percentage
Joe Burrow QB 66 100%
Jonah Williams T 66 100%
Cordell Volson G 66 100%
Ted Karras C 66 100%
Alex Cappa G 66 100%
La'el Collins T 66 100%
Mitchell Wilcox TE 60 91%
Ja'Marr Chase WR 60 91%
Tee Higgins WR 53 80%
Joe Mixon RB 42 64%
Tyler Boyd WR 40 61%
Samaje Perine RB 25 38%
Devin Asiasi TE 17 26%
Trenton Irwin WR 16 24%
Stanley Morgan Jr. WR 10 15%
Hakeem Adeniji T 6 9%
Trent Taylor WR 1 2%
Eli Apple CB 74 100%
Jessie Bates III S 74 100%
Vonn Bell S 74 100%
Logan Wilson LB 74 100%
Dax Hill CB 66 89%
Cam Taylor-Britt CB 58 78%
Germaine Pratt LB 56 76%
Cam Sample DE 56 76%
DJ Reader DT 49 66%
B.J. Hill DT 47 64%
Joseph Ossai DE 37 50%
Zach Carter DT 28 38%
Sam Hubbard DE 27 36%
Josh Tupou DT 22 30%
Jeff Gunter DE 18 24%
Allan George CB 16 22%
Jay Tufele DT 15 20%
Tre Flowers CB 14 19%
Akeem Davis-Gaither LB 6 8%
Michael Thomas S 3 4%