The Cincinnati Bengals enter the bye week at 3-3 and have seemingly saved their season with wins over the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks the last two Sundays. Their play on the offensive side of the ball has drastically improved as Joe Burrow continues to get back to 100%, but another storyline to follow has been the improvements of the defense.
Statistically to start off the year, Lou Anarumo’s unit took a major step back from their expectations. Through the first four weeks of the season, the defense ranked as one of the worst in the league.
Now, they have seen a major turnaround in Weeks 5-6.
Bengals Defense Weeks 1-4:— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) October 16, 2023
EPA: 25th (-0.042)
Success Rate: 27th (46.4%)
Dropback EPA: 21st (0.071)
Rush EPA: 26th (0.001)
Bengals Defense Weeks 5-6:
EPA: 5th (-0.168)
Success Rate: 10th (40.8%)
Dropback EPA: 8th (41.9%)
Rush EPA: 22nd (-0.065) pic.twitter.com/WkMWAX90Xm
Obviously, the argument could be made that the offenses they played against don’t grade out as some of the top units in the league, but this past Sunday, they squared off against one of the top receiving cores in the league and balled out.
It has been far from perfect. Even in that matchup with the Cardinals, things didn’t always look pretty. But the numbers don’t lie.
This Bengals team has a tough test coming up out of the bye week when they face off against two of the top offenses in the NFL in the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills. How will this team and defense hold up?
Won’t have to wait too much longer to find out.