The Cincinnati Bengals got the win over the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, despite Seattle having more first downs (24 to the Bengals 15), more total yards, (381 compared to 214), and having a nearly 10-minute advantage in time of possession.
The Bengals did, however, dominate in one area: The red zone.
Cincinnati went two for two, going 100% on scoring touchdowns when they got inside the 20, but Seattle only came away with one touchdown despite making five appearances in the red zone.
It all started with a Mike Hilton interception.
The defense had their backs against the wall after a Joe Burrow interception gave the Seahawks a short field.
Hilton doesn’t chase the route. He knows where the receiver is going, so he takes a path to intercept him and intercept the ball.
This was a huge play.
Dax Hill’s personal foul put Seattle in the red zone, but he really stepped up in run support on the next play.
On second down, the runner was swallowed up by most of the Bengals’ linebackers.
Seriously, Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, Joe Bachie, and Markus Bailey all get in on the action here.
Finally, a fantastic play on the ball by Cam Taylor-Britt forces the Seahawks to kick the field goal.
This was a huge stop. The Seahawks would see the red zone twice more. Trailing by three, they went for it on fourth down both times. If not for this stop, they could have won the game with a field goal on either of those drives.
The next time around, it was the pass rush that did the job.
You could argue that this was a coverage sack, but man, does that pocket slam shut in a hurry.
Quarterback Geno Smith barely gets off the next few passes, managing to pick up those lost yards by fourth down. Trey Hendrickson and D.J. Reader got the stop on fourth down with a sack and a defensive run-off.
On the Seahawks’ final drive, the Bengals had some excellent coverage, but it was the pressure that sealed the game on fourth down. This time it was B.J. Hill and Sam Hubbard doing the honors.
So that is the story of how the Seahawks made four trips to the red zone in the second half and came away was only three points total. This defense steps up in key situations.