Monday, October 29, 2012
Off the bye: Bengals
By Jamison Hensley
Here are three things the Cincinnati Bengals have to change coming off their bye:
1. Reduce the turnovers. The Bengals are tied for sixth in the NFL with 15 give-aways, which is a surprise considering the track records of their quarterback and running back. Quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown an interception in every game this season and has been picked off 10 times, which is three off his total last year as a rookie. It's also unlike running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to cough up the ball. After not turning the ball over in his first four seasons in the NFL, he's fumbled three times and lost two of them. No running back has fumbled more times than Green-Ellis this season.
2. Tighten up red-zone defense. A major reason why the Bengals rank 25th in points allowed (26.7 points per game) is their inefficient red-zone defense. Teams are scoring touchdowns on 65 percent of their trips inside the Bengals' 20-yard line. Only three teams are worse than Cincinnati. According to CBS Sports, offenses have reached the end zone against the Bengals in nine of 10 goal-to-go situations this year. The only stop was when Pittsburgh took a knee at the end of the Oct. 21 game.
3. Get the running game in gear. The Bengals are the only team in the division that hasn't had a running back gain over 100 yards twice this season. In fact, they have yet to get one 100-yard game out of a back. Green-Ellis started off strong with 91 yards in the season opener. Since then, he's averaged 56.6 yards over the past six games. Green-Ellis, who had 24 touchdowns the past two seasons, has only two this season and has gone the past four games without reaching the end zone. Cincinnati doesn't have another option with backup Bernard Scott out for the season. Brian Leonard and Cedric Peerman aren't featured backs in this league.