So how can the LA Rams run a balanced offense in the face of the Bengals’ stingy defense? After all, the Bengals defense has allowed fewer than 20 points per game in the playoffs. So what gives? Well, that’s where a bit of deep-diving into the game and reading more from the numbers than just the box stats reveal.
The Bengals’ defense has been very adept at taking away half of their opponent’s offense. Against the Raiders, the Bengals forced the Raiders to pass 54 times, abandoning a very productive running attack. That allowed the Bengals’ defense to capitalize on two Raiders turnovers. Against the Titans, the Bengals faced a balanced offense, but they intercepted QB Ryan Tannehill three times, which proved to be the difference in the game. Once more, they pushed the Chiefs into a pass-centric offense, which allowed them to create two more turnovers.
The Bengals’ defense has created seven turnovers in three games, while their offense has only coughed up the football on two occasions. Okay, see the picture that is forming?
Time to turn it around
Another small tidbit to the Cincinnati Bengals’ success so far is the fact that in each victory, the Bengals have won the battle for Time of Possession. They have averaged 34:03 in their time of possession, to their opponents 25:57.
Okay, now we are getting somewhere. We know this one, as the LA Rams offense struggled over this issue all season long. In fact, that is one of the reasons why the LA Rams have committed to running the football so often in the post-season. That has allowed the team to control the game clock, even if the running attack is not as effective as hoped for. But against this Bengals defense? The Rams running backs could see plenty of daylight.
That’s why I like to look past the basic numbers and read the story in the stats. The more we uncover the underlying numbers, the more I love the LA Rams’ chances in this one.