The Prevent Offense

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The Prevent Offense is a tool for the underdog because admittedly it is a gamble.  Even if successful, the result is expected to be a close, often single-score differential.  It is a game of chicken; the major advantage going to the team that understands and accepts the down-to-the-wire nature which the game will undoubtedly assume.  So much of this strategy is unnerving the opposing coaches and disrupting their play-calling.   

Aug 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in the third quarter of a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This is where the blame falls for Sunday’s loss.  Coach Lewis and Coach Gruden not only had seen this trap offensive scheme previously on 31 October, but they also had employed it themselves in late games.  Good coaching would have recognized what was happening and played each down to the bone in accordance with their game plan.  Instead, the Bengals got rattled at halftime, and Dalton along with the offense was put into a situation where it had not been successful all season long.  Coaching pulled BJGE’s effective running, forced the offense execute 51 pass plays, and placed Dalton in a non-advantageous position.

While it may not have been the case during the past two seasons, this year the Bengals were clearly out coached in the playoffs this year.  It should be remembered that while Dalton set franchise records this season, the coaching staff was only able to perpetuate the team’s existing trends.