ShulaSteakhouse Posted December 28, 2005 Report Share Posted December 28, 2005 A lot of this is already known by us - but it justifies my opinions of what is happening certainly, and further indicates that more change than fans think is necessary should happen next year here on defense.Bills Stun BengalsWithout interceptions, the Bengals defense is severely flawed. They rank in the league's bottom 10 in yards allowed, completion percentage, and sacks. Giving up more big plays in order to make interceptions is a strategy that has paid off for most of the season but backfired on Saturday.If we remove interceptions from the equation for all teams, the Cincinnati defense's DVOA drops from 13th to 30th. No other team is even close to being as reliant on interceptions; the second largest drop-off is only seven spots.Over the course of a season, Cincinnati's aggressive defense has picked off a league-high 31 passes. But when the interceptions do not come, the Bengals let players like Kelly Holcomb suddenly look like they belong in the Pro Bowl.The Bengals hope to explain this loss away as a game they controlled but lost on two exceptional plays by McGee, the kick return and a game-clinching interception returned for a touchdown. They did gain more total yards than Buffalo and got more first downs. Still, they were far from dominant, staying in the game thanks to surprisingly stout red zone defense. Three times they held Buffalo to a field goal inside the 10-yard line despite being among the worst red zone defenses in the league this season.The Bengals finish the season with a difficult game at Kansas City. With a playoff berth already secured, they will likely rest some regulars and fall to the Chiefs. A loss coupled with a win by New England over Miami would put the Bengals into the fourth seed hosting Jacksonville in the first round of the playoffs. Such a match-up is problematic for the Bengals because Byron Leftwich throws very few interceptions, only five in over 300 attempts this season. If Leftwich is fully healthy, Jacksonville poses a serious threat to the Bengals. They would be best served by returning to their early-season strategy, stopping the pass and allowing Fred Taylor to get his yards. This defense is still a work in progress and is only strong enough to limit one aspect of an opponent's attack. Between stopping the run and stopping the pass, they are better off stopping the pass to prevent yardage from coming in chunks. Pressuring the box and allowing Leftwich to make plays down the field will lead to a quick exit for the Bengals in their long-awaited return to the playoffs.Bottom line, 3 years into his tenure, Marvin's defense is still ranked consistently at the bottom of the league and his unit is holding his team back from a Superbowl appearance with that kind of offense.I cannot imagine a coach like him putting up with this much longer, and I have to think some really tough personnel decisions will have to be made in the off-season...Literally the whole d-line has to be turned over for one - and that will take a while - better get started.As for the playoffs - I agree with this article - go back to what you were doing early in the year and let it ride on defense. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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