Can the Bengals match the Packers' seven sacks on Alex Smith?

The Bengals are hoping to replicate the Packers' pass-rushers and have a big game against Chiefs QB Alex Smith. AP/Matt Ludtke

CINCINNATI -- When a few Chiefs-related statistics were read during a Cincinnati Bengals team meeting earlier this week, there was one moment when defensive end Carlos Dunlap's ears perked up.

Coaches had mentioned the number of sacks the Kansas City's offense had allowed: a whopping 14. Seven of them came in Monday night's loss at Green Bay.

"I knew they were struggling," Dunlap said, "but I didn't see the stats of how bad it was."

This Sunday, he and the rest of the Bengals' defense will be out to resume the pounding on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith, who ha been the victim on all but one of the 14 sacks the Chiefs have surrendered. By comparison, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has only been sacked twice, with both coming in last week's win at Baltimore. A year after collecting a league-low 20 sacks, Cincinnati's defense has six after three games.

Generally speaking, it won't be easy attempting to replicate the Packers' seven-sack effort from earlier this week. What helped Green Bay the most in that game, Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther noted, was the fact the Packers jumped out to a 31-7 lead fairly early in the third quarter. With such a large lead, it was fairly easy to devote attention on getting after Smith.

"Green Bay was able to put the rushers in there and really not play the runs and not really care so much about the run because that wasn't going to beat them," Guenther said. "So hopefully we can do that, we can limit their possessions and get after them a bit, too."

A good third-down defense, particularly in long-distance situations, can lead to augmented sack numbers.

Through three weeks, the Chiefs boast the league's worst third-down conversion rate (5-for-30).

Asked on a conference call with Bengals media what needed to be done to fix that issue, Chiefs coach Andy Reid was succinct with his response: "Convert."

He later expanded, saying, "I'm the primary playcaller so it's my responsibility that we get that taken care of."

When told about the Chiefs' low-ranking third-down numbers, Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry started shaking his head.

"You can't bank on that," Gilberry said.

The former Chiefs lineman said he and his defensive teammates had to forget the numbers and simply do their jobs, particularly on earlier downs.

"Second down, to me, is a hidden down," Gilberry said. "A lot of teams now are passing on first and second down. So third down, it's a really big down. And their percentage may be low, but it could have been a third-and-1 and they just didn't get it. You get what I'm saying? So when you say that [about the Chiefs' third-down percentage], you can't assume the pass protection is not where it needs to be. You can't even really hang your hat on that.

"You just have to go out and create third-and-long, and we know what the Bengals do on third-and-long: We're going to hunt."

With a large early lead and solid second-down work, perhaps the hunter Bengals can do their best Packers impression.