Running game may be the key for Zac Taylor’s Bengals
Zac Taylor scored his most significant win as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals with Sunday’s season opening overtime win against the Vikings. If you dig deeper, the formula for Taylor’s Bengals to keep winning is becoming clear, even with just one game in the rearview mirror for 2021.
With this win, Taylor now has seven of them as head coach. In those seven games including this past Sunday, the Bengals have had either an individual 100 yard rusher or over 100 yards rushing as a team in all but one of them.
Joe Mixon wasn’t available for some of those seven games due to injury. The good news is he is healthy right now and put up 127 yards on the ground and a touchdown on Sunday.
Joe Burrow is healthy at the moment too. He is the first quarterback Taylor has had as head coach that can keep the team in games by himself if he has to. We saw glimpses of that last year prior to his injury.
However, thus far in his career, Burrow has been like 99% of quarterbacks in that he can’t win games by himself and needs some form of help to get the team over the hump and win. The same can be said for the other quarterbacks Taylor has used during his head coaching tenure, even though Burrow doesn’t need nearly as much help as the likes of Ryan Finley and Brandon Allen.
Bengals fans no doubt hope much of what they saw in the season opener carries on throughout the season, but the commitment to and production in the run game might be most important.
With only seven wins in 33 games, there aren’t many circumstances under which you can yet say the Zac Taylor led Bengals usually have a good chance to win. However, the common thread in nearly all of Taylor’s wins is the ground game.
Sunday was the latest example of that. If it keeps up, the wins may start to add up quickly.