7 “Explosive plays”
Heading into the game against the Ravens, the Bengals’ defense ranked worst in the league in the total number of explosive plays allowed. That stat did not get any better after Thursday night.
Explosive running plays are rushes that gain ten or more yards. Explosive passing plays are considered receptions of 20 or more yards.
- Odell Beckham Jr. had three explosive plays, covering 21, 29, and 51 yards on his way to having a monster game and recording 116 receiving yards.
- Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor had catches over 20 yards with longs of 33 and 37 yards, respectively. Agholor’s only catch was off a deflection and ended in a touchdown.
- Cincinnati’s run defense did not fair much better, with that unit allowing Gus Edwards and Keaton Mitchell long runs of 26 and 21 yards, respectively.
There were more that did not count. Flowers had a 68-yard touchdown reception that was denied due to a penalty. While it is not considered an explosive play because it was a short pass, Mitchell had a 17-yard reception out of the backfield.
The Bengals gave up seven explosive plays against Baltimore's offense to add to their unfortunate league-leading total in that category.
Hits against the quarterback, sacks, lack of a commitment to the running game, third-down conversions, and explosive plays given up are a theme of the 2023 NFL season for the Cincinnati Bengals. Whether the coaching, execution, field conditions, or individual or group mistakes are at fault, these issues have plagued and will continue to plague the men in stripes this season.
Victories covered up these ugly statistics for a while but they have been omnipresent this year. At this point, it is safe to wonder if we will have to wait until the 2024 season kicks off before we see an improvement in these areas.
Until then, anticipate the Bengals dealing with the same issues each week. Hopefully, they will play well enough in other areas to overcome some of these deficiencies.