Cincinnati’s last preseason game again the Green Bay Packers brings up valid concerns about the run defense of the Bengals. It will be crucial to be able to stop the run in a AFC North division that is renowned for its ground and pound offense formula.
Let’s focus immediately on the Cincinnati Bengals last game of the 2011 season, the 2012 Wildcard loss to the Houston Texans. Texans Pro Bowl RB Arian Foster shredded the Bengals for 153 yards on 24 carries adding 2 TDs. Backup RB Ben Tate added 37 yards on 9 carries.
Most of Fosters big runs occurred when he burst to the outside and ran down the sideline. The significance?
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ran for 2 rushing TDs against the Bengals last week, both touchdowns were runs to the outside.
The Bengals ability to get pressure up the middle with DTs Geno Atkins and Domata Peko, but their biggest weakness against the run continues to be defending outside runs which falls primarily on the OLBs.
The Bengals starting defense has looked dominant thus far against the run, but their showing against the Packers raises questions about their ability to stop speedy RBs from getting to the wide open spaces in the flats.
It seems to be an extreme case of offensive game planning to expose the Begnals lack of of ability to get to the sideline and slowdown the opposing running back from busting long runs on the edges.
The Bengals must find a way to contain runners from finding room on the sideline if they hope to keep opposing offenses out of the red-zone and more important the end-zone.