4. Bengals on 3rd down: 2-9
This stat not only defines the Bengals' loss this past Sunday but their season (so far) as a whole. They have been downright abysmal on third downs, and their Week 4 game was no exception.
I don't know if it's the play call or Burrow trying to accommodate his calf injury, but it feels like every time it's third-and-long, you can expect a checkdown that barely goes past the line of scrimmage and gets nowhere near a first. This year, on the 56 3rd downs they've faced, Burrow and the rest of the offense have just converted a mere 19 of them.
Their 33.9% third-down conversion rate is bottom 10 in the league and much worse than how they've been on third downs the last couple of seasons (39.6% in 2021, 46.1%, and top three in the league in 2022!)
Besides Week 2, when they went 10-15 on third downs, this offense has been basically playing 2-down football with how pitiful they've been on third downs. In Week 1, they went 2-15, and even in their lone win on the season against the Rams, they could only muster 5 first downs on 17 attempts!
There are a lot of things the Bengals need to fix if they want to save the sinking ship that is this season, and, to me, at the top of that list and converting third downs. This is why I believe -- aside from the obvious 1-3 record-- that this stat alone defines how poorly the offense has played not only against the Titans but in 2023 as a whole.
That being said, they still have time to rally together, as it is only Week 4. However, their chances at a Wild Card spot-- let alone a third-straight division title-- get slimmer with every loss, so here's to hoping they can get it done in the desert next week.