After going into yesterday’s game with the 30th-ranked NFL defense, a solid performance by an undermanned unit that was down their top defensive-back in Leon Hall was able to hold the Redskins’s #1 scoring offense to 24 offensive points, not counting Andy Dalton‘s pick-six touchdown, and sack phenom rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III six times and hold him to 214 yards passing, much of which came in the Skins’ final two drives when the Bengals were in mostly prevent defense packages.
While the Bengals defense has clearly left much to be desired, there are several areas they are performing very well in:
They’ve forced 5 fumbles, tied for the 5th-most in the NFL
The Bengals have 11 sacks on the year, tied with the Packers for 3rd-most
They’ve managed to avoid allowing the long-bombs to beat them, as they’ve allowed just one passing play of 40+ yards all year, which ironically was the first play of the season when they allowed Ravens receiver Torrey Smith to burn them for a 52-yard reception.
Its apparent Mike Zimmer is putting all of his marbles in his pass-rush, while having his defensive-backs play a bend-but-don’t-break defense to prevent the big play. However, for all of the positive stats I just mentioned, this defense clearly has a long way to go to help get this team to the playoffs, and the most significant number Zimmer needs to preach to his defense is the number 0. That’s how many interceptions this team has through the first three weeks of the NFL season, having played the likes of Joe Flacco, rookie Brandon Weeden, and rookie Robert Griffin. Its also a reminder of how bad this secondary is playing right now, and Marvin Lewis and Zimmer have to find a way to improve this secondary before its too late.