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 sacks, 14 QB hits

Cincinnati’s offense protected quarterback Jake Browning against Kansas City well right up until the point where they did not. Most protection issues turned their ugly heads at the absolute worst time.

It has infamously been challenging for Cincinnati to protect their QB under the best circumstances. Trying to play from behind to keep playoff hopes alive against an excellent pass rush proved too much for the Bengals.

Safety Justin Reid had two sacks on consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter. The first was before the two-minute warning, and the second came after the pause.

Somehow, Cincinnati overcame a 4th-and-18 after those sacks, thanks to a Browning completion to Tyler Boyd. Unfortunately, after that conversion, Browning was sacked again on back-to-back plays. This time, George Karlaftis and Chris Jones got to Browning on second and third down, respectively.

Unfortunately, that proved to be too much for Cincinnati to overcome.

Kansas City got to the Bengals’ signal caller for six sacks and a whopping 14 QB hits. Five of Kansas City’s six sacks came in the fourth quarter.

In some ways, it is fitting that Cincinnati’s playoff hopes would end against Kansas City, with problems protecting the quarterback on offense and surrendering too many explosive plays on defense playing a significant role in why they lost.

Let's hope, however, that the organization goes about it, that these issues will improve next season, and the Bengals will find themselves against Kansas City again at the end of the season. And with KC and Cincy already scheduled to meet in the regular season in 2024, players and fans from both teams should hope to see each other twice next year.  

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