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"The Bengals Did Something Different"


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Pretty great article in the The Athletic by Ted Nguyan with a lot of video and analysis of what the Bengals did to slow down and frustrate the Ravens' offense. Came away from the article feeling much better about LouA. I am not the pasting wizard (especially when there is video ) like some are but for those of you with a subscription (and it is still on sale for $1 a month right now, so get it) it is here:




Lamar Jackson dealt with a knee injury during the week but was healthy enough to play against the Bengals in Week 5. Even if he was 100 percent, the Bengals didn’t give him any space to run by surprising the Ravens with a defense that they didn’t expect to see. The Bengals, ranked 17th in run defense DVOA (football outsider’s efficiency metric) before they played the Ravens, managed to hold the vaunted Ravens offense to only 20 points (Patrick Queen scored a defensive TD on a 53-yard fumble return), which is even more impressive considering the Bengals offense turned the ball over three times.

“(The Bengals) did do something completely different. They were in a true college 4-3 type of look,” head coach John Harbaugh said after the game. “They were playing quarters with the safeties low. They played it in the past but they hadn’t played it yet this year.”

Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo kept his base personnel on the field with three linebackers. Pass rusher Carlos Dunlap expressed frustration early in the week for being benched and having his role relegated to third-down specialist, but Anarumo needed strong run defenders who could hold their ground and two-gap against the Ravens. This week, the defensive line’s job was to force runners to bounce outside for linebackers and defensive backs to chase down.


(then the video and analysis part starts)

Summed up - really good discipline and buy-in to that scheme across the board - and the LBers and DBs flowed and filled well while the d-line played their assigned gaps. The Ravens were clearly frustrated. 

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I don't necessarily dislike Lou as a DC, his defense showed marked improvement the 2nd half of last season, but has been terribly inconsistent this year for some reason.  Maybe it's more of a depth/personnel issue, as now injuries are going to make that defense look like a shell of what it could've been.  But this also shows why good coaching is a difference-maker in the NFL. It's no MLB or the NBA.

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The defensive struggles have seemed to parallel the injuries on the interior defensive line. When both Atkins and Daniels are out, they seem to be considerably worse against the run. At least they were against Cleveland (who is, if we're fair, the best running team in the league right now). The linebackers remain iffy, but at least I have seen some glimmers of talent there from Pratt and Wilson especially.

My worries about this team remain focused squarely on the offensive line, Jim Turner, and Zac Taylor.

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