3 things we learned from Bengals divisional round win vs. Titans

Vonn Bell, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Vonn Bell, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Hilton, Vonn Bell, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Defense is legit

While it seems late in the season to finally accept that the defense is in fact, good, better late than never! More importantly, they ARE LEGIT.

Saturday in Nashville, in a game that pretty much everyone expected Derrick Henry to run for about, oh, I don’t know, a THOUSAND yards, the aforementioned Henry struggled to average nine feet per carry. For you metric system fans, that’s three yards per tote. Kids, that’s not very good.

Granted Henry had a short touchdown early, but he also failed on fourth and short, as well as on a crucial two-point conversion with the game knotted at six in the second quarter. That was a huge play in a game full of huge plays.

Even with the loss of Larry Obunjobi, the interior of the line played the run exceptionally well. While the defense didn’t get many sacks, it was obvious that Ryan Tannehill was uncomfortable and often confused. You don’t necessarily have to have a ton of sacks to be successful, especially with a quarterback that can be rattled like Tannehill.

Most impressive, however, was the play of the linebackers and secondary. Granted the Titans don’t have an athletic pass-catching tight end to draw attention from Julio Jones and A.J. Brown, but the linebackers still managed to be disruptive when the Titans chose to throw short across the middle.

The tackling was sound, there were no stupid penalties or blown assignments, and while one Titan star got his (Brown), the ghost of Julio Jones and Derrick Henry were held in check. It was a very balanced and smart defensive game plan, and perhaps Lou Anarumo’s best game plan during his Bengal tenure.