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Bengals Defeat Colts: 3 Things We Learned from Week 1

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Running Back Joe Mixon
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Running Back Joe Mixon /
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The best way to beat this defense is across the middle

To start the game, the Colts were doing whatever they wanted against this defense. They jumped out to a 23-10 lead, mostly because of small gains in the passing game. On deep passes, William Jackson and Dre Kirkpatrick did a good job in coverage. However, those corners will naturally struggle more across the middle, and the Bengals’ linebackers did not do a good job helping them.

Without Vontaze Burfict, the linebackers were always going to be an issue. Preston Brown made a nice early play, but he is not a great coverage linebacker. Nick Vigil, another good run stopper, struggled in pass coverage as well. Hardy Nickerson did not have a very good game either, often giving up a lot of underneath yardage.

Next. Bengals Mount Massive Comeback. dark

Moving forward, the Bengals have to scheme to fix this. With Shawn Williams coming back, that will improve things some, but it will not cure all ills. The pass rush has to intimidate opposing QBs a little more, and the corners may have to play more aggressively in an attempt to knock receivers off their routes. It may result in a few big plays, but the Bengals can’t afford to go down two scores again.