Here’s a look at three numbers that are meaningful and relevant to the San Francisco 49ers’ Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
6.1-The Bengals yards per play against Seattle Week 1
Cincy moved the ball up and down the field against the Seahawks on offense. If not for three lost fumbles, and going 0-3 in the red area, the Bengals win that game by at least a touchdown. That’s not how the NFL works, though.
The 49ers weren’t challenged down the field against Jameis Winston and the Bucs. Cincinnati threw the ball over ten yards 17 times. They are looking to not only stretch the field but use the entire field. The Niners secondary will face a tougher test than we initially expected. Joe Mixon will play as well. He is a difficult matchup for anyone, even the much-improved linebackers for the 49ers defense.
4-The number of explosive passing plays the Bengals gave up Week 1
As I mentioned in our staff predictions for Sunday earlier, Russell Wilson threw the ball 13 times to non-running backs, and the Bengals gave up four passing plays that went for 16 or more yards. William Jackson is one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL, but outside of him, the Bengals secondary is very inconsistent. Their safety, Jessie Bates loves to gamble, and I imagine Kyle Shanahan will take advantage of his aggressiveness and use that against Bates.
This is the type of game where Dante Pettis should have a field day. We know Shanahan will scheme receivers open on play-action, but Pettis is the savvy type of route runner that should give the Bengals secondary problems.
Look for George Kittle down the middle of the field as well. Assuming the Bengals pass rush isn’t all-world like they showed last week, I like the 49ers skill players in this one. They are improved with the ball in their hands, and Cincinnati is not a good tackling team. I’m expecting big plays. The Bengals only allowed 19 yards per drive last week, but Seattle didn’t open up their offense for whatever reason. That won’t be the case for the Niners offense this Sunday.
0-6-The red area numbers from both offenses in Week 1
It comes down to execution. It felt like the 49ers had a touchdown wiped off the board every time they reached the red area. There were a couple of phantom penalties that put the offense in a tough position to score.
Look at some of these down and distances:
2nd & 15 from Tampa Bay’s 18-yard line.
2nd & 22 from Tampa Bay’s 27-yard line.
3rd & 18 from the Bucs 27-yard line.
Penalties are drive killers, and if the 49ers are going to put up points like I think they will and know they’re capable of, they’re going to have to execute in the area of the field where it matters the most.
The Bengals weren’t much better. They had 3rd & goal from the 16-yard line after they got as close as the four-yard line. There was another possession where they recovered a fumble and took the ball over in Seattle’s territory, but Andy Dalton fumbled after being sacked on the Seahawks 12-yard line. Hello, Dee Ford.
The team that’s the most efficient in the red area Sunday will win the game.