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Bengals vs. Steelers snap counts: Dax Hill barely plays in debut

Week 1 wasn’t so busy for the first-round pick.

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals lost in frustrating fashion to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. This was the first time we got to see this team take the field in 2022, so the snap counts give a slight glimpse into what we may be able to expect from this team moving forward.

Of course, we also have to factor in for defensive snap counts that playing an offense they knew wanted to run the ball could have us seeing a vastly different distribution on that side of the ball.

Overall snaps

The Bengals offense ran a ridiculous 100 plays, which for as long as I have been doing this post is the most I’ve ever seen any team take. It is extra surprising considering they gave away the ball five times on the day. There should be no surprise that this offense and the Steelers defense looked gassed in overtime.

The main reason the Bengals offense played this much is because the Steelers offense just did not really come to play. They had a total of 13 first downs the entire game and ran 63 plays. If not for the turnovers and a questionable pass interference call in the end zone, this offense would have failed to move the ball consistently at all.

Dax Hill waits in the wings

Cincinnati’s first-round pick only played six snaps Sunday. Again, the fact they were playing a Pittsburgh offense that looked focused on running the ball probably impacted that, but we also saw plenty of Mike Hilton (53) and both Vonn Bell (63) and Jessie Bates III (61) played the whole game.

There is no doubt that Hill will be a weapon for this multiple defense to unleash, but we didn’t get a chance to see it this Sunday.

The Chris Evans problem

It was fairly obvious that the Bengals view Joe Mixon as the starting running back and Samaje Perine as his backup. Neither played this preseason while we saw plenty of Evans who lit things up despite all of his big plays being called back due to holding penalties.

This isn’t a “we shouldn’t play Perine” point as Perine still has plenty of value. He is an incredible pass blocker and serviceable running back in space. However, Evans has a playmaking ability Perine just doesn’t have. There was a play Sunday where Joe Burrow threw a pass down the sideline to Perine who was blanketed by a linebacker, and the entire time all I could think of was Evans’ receiving touchdown last season against the Detroit Lions.

The Bengals just need to find a way to get Evans on the field every so often. Him having zero snaps is a problem.

Defensive line rotation

We saw mostly Sam Hubbard (59) and Trey Hendrickson (59) all day with the likes of Joseph Ossai (11), Cam Sample (9) and Zach Carter (11) rotating behind them. Carter played mostly inside behind BJ Hill (51), who played his first game as the full-time starter at 3-technique. Hill spent the majority of last season playing in tandem with Larry Ogunjobi, so we will have to see if Carter sees a jump in snaps as the season progresses.

Overall, we should maybe expect to see more of Ossai and Carter when they are facing teams that are more pass happy or in obvious passing situations. Playing from behind never really allowed them to unleash a full pass rush package.

Hayden Hurst is clear TE1

Hurst played 75 snaps on the day while we only saw Drew Sample (29) sparingly. This could be more to do with needing that added pass catching ability with Tee Higgins leaving early with an injury or because Cincinnati was behind the whole game. It is still a pretty big sign of things to come that Hurst got this much time.

Here are the Bengals snap counts

Bengals snap counts against Steelers

Player Position Number of Snaps Percent
Player Position Number of Snaps Percent
Ja'Marr Chase WR 100 100
Tee Higgins WR 26 26
Tyler Boyd WR 80 80
Mike Thomas WR 69 69
Trent Taylor WR 14 14
Stanley Morgan WR 5 5
Mitchell Wilcox TE 2 2
Drew Sample TE 29 29
Hayden Hurst TE 75 75
Devin Asiasi TE DNP DNP
Joe Burrow QB 100 100
Brandon Allen QB -- --
Jonah Williams OT 100 100
La'el Collins OT 100 100
Hakeem Adeniji OT -- --
Joe Mixon RB 73 73
Trayveon Williams RB DNP DNP
Samaje Perine RB 26 26
Chris Evans RB -- --
Cordell Volson G 100 100
D'Ante Smith G DNP DNP
Max Scharping G DNP DNP
Jackson Carman G -- --
Alex Cappa G 100 100
Ted Karras C 100 100
Trey Hill C -- --
Jessie Bates S 61 97
Vonn Bell S 63 100
Michael Thomas S -- --
Dax Hill S 6 10
Logan Wilson LB 63 100
Germaine Pratt LB 45 71
Clay Johnston LB -- --
Akeem Davis-Gaither LB 12 19
Markus Bailey LB 2 3
Josh Tupou DT 19 30
Jay Tufele DT DNP DNP
DJ Reader DT 42 67
BJ Hill DT 51 81
Zach Carter DT 11 17
Cam Sample DE 9 14
Joseph Ossai DE 11 17
Sam Hubbard DE 59 94
Trey Hendrickson DE 59 94
Jeff Gunter DE -- --
Mike Hilton CB 53 84
Tre Flowers CB 5 8
Jalen Davis CB -- --
Chidobe Awuzie CB 61 97
Eli Apple CB 61 97