What Happened Last Year Won’t Be Repeated This Year
The quarterback that bobbled the snap in overtime last year versus Denver was not Andy Dalton. The impact of having Dalton on the field against a world-class defense cannot be overstated. As solid of a backup as A.J. McCarron is he cannot be expected to run the offense like Dalton. For that matter, the defender who recovered the fumbled snap (Demarcus Ware) won’t be on the field either.
While many things have changed since last year for both teams the fact remains that this is a huge game in the AFC just like it was last year. Playoff positioning and playoff Home games could both be on the line when all is said and done and this game could be the deciding factor.
The two Bengals running backs from last year are the same two this year and in this game. For Jeremy Hill, he must make the space between the tackles his home, office and place of leisure on Sunday. If he can get 15 touches or more while moving the ball on 1st down, the offense will have options against this defense.
However, if he can’t get enough quality touches to make 2nd down manageable, Giovani Bernard will be the answer. One of the answers to a pressure defense is the Screen Pass game. Bernard’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield or the Slot can make the Broncos think twice about overly blitzing. Either way, Jeremy Hill must control the inside and Giovani Bernard must establish the outside to keep Andy Dalton upright and healthy.