Combine AFC North football and playoff football, and you get a nasty result, as said by Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor following the club’s fourth postseason victory in the last 12 months. This game had messy written all over it from the minute the playoff seeding was finalized, but wins all count the same this time of year.
Let’s dive into some snap count takeaways from Sunday night’s victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens managed to keep the Bengals’ defense on its toes in key moments; 69 plays were ran by the visiting team to 57 for the hosts. Baltimore’s 150 rushing yards helped them stay ahead of the chains on a night when they converted just three third downs. Factoring in the multiple turnovers the Bengals forced, and it’s quite shocking how the Ravens were on the field more often. Cincinnati only picked up six first downs on 28 early down passes. 21% isn’t going to cut it against better teams.
Halfway into the game, the Bengals had to overcome yet another offensive line injury. Jonah Williams (30) endured a dislocated knee for the second time this season against the Ravens. He managed to play through the first one back in Week 5, and he wasn’t as lucky this time around as his other knee suffered a worse fate.
Williams’ status for next Sunday is up in the air to put it optimistically. The real question will be if Jackson Carman (28) fills his spot at left tackle again. Carman came off the bench and was effective for the majority of his 18 pass-blocking snaps, but the sack allowed vs. Tyus Bowser exemplifies the concern with playing him for a full game. Once more, the Bengals will have decisions to make in putting the pieces back together up front.
Cincinnati’s rushing attack hasn’t been too strong of late, but despite the pedestrian numbers Joe Mixon (26) and Samaje Perine (31) posted, the Bengals still managed a 50% success rate on the ground. For reference, they’ve been successful just 35% of the time over the last five weeks of the regular season.
Mixon had the bulk of the carries, but Perine was on the field more often for passing plays, running 20 routes to Mixon’s 10.
Embracing the grind
Baltimore’s balance on offense kept the Bengals in their base 5-2 defense for most of the game. DJ Reader (54) and B.J. Hill (60) were out there for long stretches along with Zach Carter (29) and Josh Tupou (27) were relied on throughout the night to give the Bengals heavy presence up the middle.
Sam Hubbard (60) made the play of the night with his 98-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown that actually covered over 100 yards, but Akeem Davis-Gaither (16) made the play of his career early in the first quarter, intercepting Tyler Huntley on their first possession.
Bengals snap counts vs. Ravens
|Stanley Morgan Jr.||WR||1||2%|
|Jessie Bates III||S||65||94%|