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Bengals Anthony Collins starts at right tackle in place of Andre Smith

In what's being described as a coach's decision, Anthony Collins started at right tackle for a completely healthy Andre Smith.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In a move that appears somewhat surprising, the Bengals coaching staff elected to start Anthony Collins at right tackle, essentially benching Andre Smith, against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. It's being confirmed as a "coach's decision" but word hasn't surfaced as to the actual reason that he was benched.

Smith eventually came into the game when Clint Boling went down with a knee injury in the first quarter, playing right tackle while Anthony Collins, who started at right tackle, moved to left tackle and sliding Andrew Whitworth to left guard.

As a result of this configuration, as well as a renewed push to run the football, the Bengals generated 164 yards rushing and a 4.3 yard/rush average -- both rank as second-most this season.

We wouldn't be surprised if the (virtual) benching wasn't performance-based. In his last three games combined, Smith has accumulated a Pro Football Focus run blocking score of -5.7. He's also allowed 11 pressures and three quarterback sacks, most of which equals his totals throughout the first eight games combined. While normally teams don't have the luxury of benching quality players in week 13, the Bengals have one of the best backup tackles in the league in Anthony Collins. So the impact wasn't significant.

Another thought is he broke the team curfew Saturday night, but we can't substantiate that claim -- we're just throwing ideas against the wall at this point.