Domination in the NFL more often than not comes as a surprise, especially in the playoffs. The Cincinnati Bengals made waste to the Buffalo Bills on their own sleet-covered turf, and while components of the win were surprising, the end result falls in line with the postseason reputation this team has established.
The final snap counts tell us plenty of how Cincinnati dictated this game from start to finish.
To no one’s surprise, the Bengals outlasted the Bills in the snaps department. Cincinnati had 75 offensive plays to Buffalo’s 62, and the difference was found in the beginning of the game. The home team started with back-to-back three-and-outs, while the Bengals scored two touchdowns on two drives that lasted a combined 15 plays. Each team had three drives of at least 10 plays, but the Bengals forcing quick stops became a huge factor in preventing the Bills from ever getting in rhythm.
When the Bengals called up practice squad tight end Nick Bowers this week, that should’ve been a clear tell of what was to come. Hayden Hurst (38), Mitchell Wilcox (34), and Devin Asiasi (14) all got after it in the run game as the offense came out with a physical edge.
Hurst did most of his damage down the field as a receiver—finishing with 59 yards on five receptions and a touchdown—while Wilcox and Asiasi did their dirty work in the trenches. Don’t mistake that for Hurst not doing the same though, he got his garnet locks in the think of it.
Hilton rewards program
The Bills didn’t hide their intentions or stray from their offensive identity. The operated out of 11 personnel with three receivers, and the Bengals’ defense had to respect it. It’s not like they were upset at having Mike Hilton playing 62 snaps, 35 more than he notched against the Ravens last week.
Hilton was an absolute beast in this game. Whether it was forcing a Josh Allen fumble that wasn’t, or laying the boom on his receivers, the tone Hilton set could be felt all the way back at Paycor Stadium. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will never complain about keeping their nickel back out on the field for all but 2% of the game.
Change in dynamic
The shift from defending the Baltimore Ravens to the Bills was also felt at the defensive line. Joseph Ossai (36) saw way more playing time than Cam Sample (20) while the dynamic was flipped last week. Each of them registered two hurries on Josh Allen, who did his best to avoid the constant pressure he was under.
Trey Hendrickson (32) continues to see his snaps increase after his wrist fracture, as he played a combined 48 snaps in both Ravens games. Hendrickson ended up with a near strip-sack on Allen that was ruled incomplete.
Bengals snap counts vs. Bills
|Stanley Morgan Jr.||WR||7||9%|
|Jessie Bates III||S||63||100%|