Despite being without their quarterback, the Cincinnati Bengals offense is rolling over the last few weeks, and a big part of that is the running game.
Finally, Joe Mixon has some help, with rookie Chase Brown now sharing the backfield workload.
Of course, running backs contribute in the passing game as well, and that is where we will start.
On Chase Brown's TD Screen - the screen is to the 'Field' (long side), so the 'Sidewalk' is in the Alley between the #'s and the Hash— Kyle Caskey (@CoachKyleCaskey) December 11, 2023
- BUT -
There is NO ONE THERE - "Green Grass Rule"
If you can just go - then GO!!
And...HE WENT!! The kid is going to be a star for the @Bengals! pic.twitter.com/qePp6MDOHl
After the game, Zac Taylor talked about how the screen game was sometimes about execution, but sometimes about making the right call at the right moment. This was about as right as a moment can get.
As the defensive back turns and runs with Irv Smith, there is no one left off the right edge. The linebacker dives inside and Ted Karras’s block springs running back Chase Brown on the edge.
After that, it is off to the races, and that is not hyperbole. Brown broke 22 miles per hour on his way to six points, the second-fastest speed recorded by a player this season. The play was so wide open, and Brown was so blazing fast, that neither guard who released on the screen even made a block.
This was the same play out of a different formation.
It wasn’t as wide-open, but excellent downfield blocks by Cordell Volson and Alex Cappa helped to spring Joe Mixon for another huge gain.
This screen was a little bit different. Instead of the initial play action, the offense gave the impression of a drop-back pass. Brown snuck out to the right side with Volson, Cappa, and Ted Karras out in front of him.
Props to number 90, Grover Stewart for his recognition of the play. This easily could have gone for nothing, but Brown’s burst left the defensive tackle in the dust. Some solid blocking by the interior line led to a nice gain for the Bengals.
Of course, some teams are doing this crazy thing where they just hand the ball to their running back. Knute Rockne called it a run play.
This is another example of a defender making an excellent read, but Brown’s speed leaves him in the dust. They run the wham play to the right side, but Irv Smith’s trap block on the defensive tackle is ineffective, so Brown has to cut it back.
This easily could have been a negative play, but Brown turned it into a first down.
Here, we get Brown and Mixon in the same backfield, with Mixon lined up in the traditional fullback position. On 4th and 1, Mixon makes a fantastic cut to pick up the first down.
This is a fantastic play, but it is even more interesting if you look at the top of the screen. Trenton Irwin and Drew Sample’s blocks make no sense for a fullback dive. They do, however, make a lot of sense if they toss the ball to Brown.
With Jake Browning turning his back to the defense, it must be a pre-snap read, but he definitely had the option to pitch the ball out to Brown, depending on the defensive look.
The Bengals have done a great job of utilizing their talent over the last few weeks, and the emergence of Chase Brown at running back is causing warranted excitement. They are getting the ball to their playmakers in some really cool ways, and Brown’s speed has translated into some big gains.