11, not 12 rushing attempts
A recurring theme is that Cincinnati’s offense runs away from rushing the ball too often. Another Sunday is another example of this happening.
The Bengals had the ball first and goal from the three-yard line. On the television broadcast, Tony Romo said, “I would run the ball here if I were the Bengals.” Well, Mr. Romo, you are not the Bengals. More importantly, you are not Zac Taylor, who is allergic to sticking to running the ball even when it is going well. This was the case in the first half of the game.
In the first half, Joe Mixon ran the ball seven times for 55 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry. As a team, the Bengals rushed 11 times for 79 yards, or 7.2 yards per attempt, in the first half.
Instead of handing the ball off to Mixon or Trayveon Williams, who had one carry for seven yards, Burrow threw it to Irv Smith. However, the result was horrific, as Smith fumbled the ball, which resulted in a recovery by the 49ers at their five-yard line.
It was an opportunity for Cincinnati to score heading into halftime while getting the ball back to start the third quarter.
It is easy to be upset with Smith for the fumble. However, he should not have been in that situation to begin with. As Romo pointed out, the Bengals should have run the ball. But we know that this season, sticking to the run is not on the menu for Taylor. It is barely an appetizer.
Mixon would finish with a stat line of 16 carries, 87 yards, and one touchdown. He averaged 5.4 yards per attempt. It appeared he could have easily reached 100 yards rushing for the first time this season if the coaches had stuck with the run game a bit more.
That also could have possibly prevented a potentially costly turnover in the red zone.