Ghosts of Run Defense’s Past Haunt Bengals, Fall to Browns

Ghosts of Run Defense’s Past Haunt Bengals, Fall to Browns

Late Touchdown Not Enough As Bengals Lose 35-30

Joe Burrow wasn’t perfect, and the running game never got going, but the Bengals put themselves in position to win down only five with 5:55 left in the 4th Quarter.

Then, an all too familiar face reared its ugly head: the run defense.

After *only* giving up 142 rushing yards, including stopping Browns runs on three out of four plays en route to a turnover on downs on the goal line to begin the 2nd half, Cleveland strung together six straight runs for 75 yards, sealing the game with a Kareem Hunt touchdown.

Nick Chubb and Hunt combined for 32 carries for 210 yards and three Touchdowns, leaving the Bengals in disarray after an otherwise encouraging performance.

After going up 3-0 with their first drive, Cincinnati didn’t lead for the rest of the game.

Joe Burrow had an up-and-down contest, while throwing the second-most passes ever for a rookie quarterback.  Burrow completed 37-of-61 passes for 316 yards and 3 Touchdowns while avoiding being intercepted. Burrow averaged only 5.2 yards per-attempt, while missing AJ Green multiple times during the game (AJ was targeted 13 times, yet only caught 3 passes for 29 yards.)

However, Burrow was also hampered by his surrounding cast at times.  A Tyler Boyd drop that would’ve been a Touchdown.  A Myles Garrett strip-sack led to a Brown Touchdown.  Most of all, every time the Bengals got within a score, the defense gave up points to keep the game essentially out of reach.

It didn’t help that the Bengals caught Baker Mayfield on one of his sharper days.

Outside of a horrendous interception deep in Bengals territory, Mayfield was on-point as he threw for 219 yards and 2 Touchdowns along with a 110.6 Passer Rating.

While Cincinnati ran 30 more plays than Cleveland, it was Cleveland’s efficiency that won them the game. Cleveland averaged 7.5 Yards-Per-Play, 6.1 Yards-Per-Rush, and 9.5 Yards-Per-Pass.

 

Notes:

  • Though he looked fantastic, Joe Mixon only managed 86 yards on 20 touches.
  • CJ Uzomah left the game with a Right Achilles injury in the 4th Quarter and did not return.
  • I thought Burrow did his best in the clutch. He drove the field at the end of the First Half for a Field Goal while also going 5-5 on 4th Though not completely comfortable play-to-play, he steps up his game when he’s needed most.
  • DJ Reader looks to be worth the money he signed for despite the run defense woes.
  • Brandon Wilson is still a major Kick Return threat, as he returns for 45 and 42 yards.
  • LeBron James tweeted about Joe Burrow during the game. You can check that out here https://twitter.com/KingJames/status/1306763569011273728
  • Ending on a local note, I thought former Lafayette General Jedrick Wills Jr. really improved his play from Week 1 against Baltimore. He was able to keep Carl Lawson at bay on some big pass-rush situations, and the Browns consistently ran towards his side of the line towards the end of the game.