3 tragic stats from Bengals' season-ending loss to Chiefs in Week 17

  • Lack of second half points
  • Explosive plays allowed
  • Sacks surrendered

Dec 31, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the
Dec 31, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor paces the / Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports
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6 explosive plays allowed

As we talk about every week, the number of explosive plays given up by Lou Anarumo’s defensive unit was excessive. While there is never a good time for it, we witnessed those substantial gains at the most inopportune times.

Cincinnati would surrender six explosive plays for 225 yards to Andy Reid’s offense. Three of those six came from running back Isiah Pacheco, both on the ground and through the air. Pacheco, rookie receiver Rashee Rice, and tight end Noah Gray added three 'chunk plays' that fall just short of being classified as explosive.

The Bengals’ defense also benefitted from a couple of drops that should have resulted in even more explosive plays and points for Kansas City.

The big-play aspect of opposing offenses is something that we have been talking about seemingly all season. What we wanted to classify as a bend but don’t break defense quickly morphed into a defense prone to giving up big plays.

This is a topic of conversation in the locker room, as Mike Hilton pointed out amid his post-game interviews.

While he never crosses it, Hilton walks right up to the line of saying a lot of the team’s problems in that area are because of the young guys in the defensive backfield. But, like playing spades with a skilled partner, we picked up what he was putting down.

Nevertheless, as with zero points in a half, there is enough criticism to share when assigning fault for why explosive plays have been such an issue this season. While the Bengals rank last in explosive passes surrendered, they have also given up the 26th most rushing explosive plays this season.

And like with the problem, the solution will be found in different areas this offseason. Or at least we hope so.