This was Joe Burrow’s offense, and with him done for the season, things will be very different for the Cincinnati Bengals.
That doesn’t mean the season is over.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the unknown in Jake Browning. They will have to adjust on the fly to whatever Zac Taylor, Brian Callahan, Troy Walters, and Dan Pitcher come up with for this week’s game plan.
I’ve got a pretty good idea of what that might look like. Running the ball from under center, bootlegs, and play action pass shot plays.
But let’s start on the other side of the ball.
Play Great Defense
There has been a lot of criticism of this defense, but they can absolutely play. They have done an excellent job of creating turnovers and winning in the Red Zone. Where they have gotten in trouble is when they are on the field too much or put into bad positions, which brings us to...
Run the Ball
Teams never win with JUST great defense.
Teams without a great quarterback win because of their defense AND their running game. The Bengals must get under center and commit to running the ball downhill. We should see a heavy dose of the counterplay, with the guard pulling and kicking out and a tight end or wide receiver leading up the hole. They must lean on Joe Mixon to control the game.
Play Action Pass Shot Plays
They need to create explosive plays on play-action pass deep shots.
This will be a flashback to the early days of Zac Taylor’s tenure, with max protection, including a wide receiver blocking and two receivers running deep over the middle.
I expect to see this at least twice in this game.
Red Zone Offense
Taylor has consistently stated that you win in the red zone because of your quarterback’s ability to make a play. Maybe Jake Browning can make some magic down there, but they better have a plan to create scores as well. Don’t be surprised to see the Mixon backside slip-out pass play that the Bengals leaned on in the Red Zone in years past.
Out Steeler the Steelers
Control the line of scrimmage. Run the ball. Play great defense. Don’t beat yourself.
It’s a sound formula. They have the dudes. They just need to execute.