ReFo: Bengals @ Texans, Week 12

Cole Schultz hands out the game ball and hits on other standouts in this review of performances from the Bengals and Texans in Week 12.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Bengals @ Texans, Week 12

2014-REFO-WK12-CIN@HOUIt wasn’t the flashiest of performances, but the Bengals came out of Houston with a win and now hold the slimmest of leads in the AFC North. With an inconsistent offense, Cincinnati’s defense held strong, limiting the Texans’ offense to just two field goals, though Houston did its part in that with a wildly inaccurate passing game and a middling run game that was largely abandoned.

There’s room for improvement from the Bengals who have are about to endure a brutal four-week stretch to end the season. They won’t get to play a hampered Ryan Mallett every week, and an absentee pass rush won’t cut it against the quarterbacks that remain on their schedule. A win is a win, though, and when the Dalton-coaster peaks they can play ball with anyone.

Houston’s loss unfortunately leaves them on the outside looking in at the playoff race in the AFC. An apparent pectoral injury to Mallett leaves the Texans once again in quarterback purgatory as they will likely be forced into at least a few weeks of Ryan Fitzpatrick as the 2014 season comes to a close.

Cincinnati Bengals –Performances of Note

A.J. Green, WR: +2.9

Breakdown: Seeing more targets (15) than the next two most targeted Bengals combined, Green put forth another solid day since returning from a toe injury that robbed him of plenty of playing time this year. He was kept quiet downfield with just one catch on a throw more than 10 yards in the air, but Green absolutely tore it up underneath, turning those 15 targets into 12 catches and 121 yards.

Signature Stat: Nine of Green’s 12 catches went for a first down.

Carlos Dunlap, DE: +4.3

Breakdown: On a defense that has struggled to get after the quarterback this year, Dunlap tallied five pressures and the team’s only sack against a Houston passing game that was typically quick to get the ball out. Four total defensive stops highlighted his strong work as part of a run defense that held the Texans to just 3.4 yards per carry.

Signature Play: At 3:34 in the second quarter, Dunlap breezed by Derek Newton and forced a hurried check-down pass which fell incomplete.

Marshall Newhouse, RT: -5.6

Breakdown: Newhouse was inserted back into the lineup when Andre Smith left for good after eight snaps, and he responded with his third consecutive grade in the red. Nobody likes dealing with J.J. Watt in one on one situations, and the offensive play-calling mitigated that as much as possible with a quick-hitting passing game and runs primarily to the left. Even so, the former Packer was outclassed and should Smith miss more time, he appears to be the weak link on otherwise solid offensive line.

Signature Play: 7:59, Q4. The Bengals dialed up a run away from Newhouse’s side, but the overmatched tackle allowed Watt to knife inside and take down Jeremy Hill for a loss.

Houston Texans –Performances of Note

Ryan Mallett, QB: -9.3

Breakdown: This isn’t what Houston had hoped for when they acquired the former Patriot back-up. It’s been since reported that Mallett played through an injured pectoral, but even so this was a disastrous performance. Consistently inaccurate and rarely challenging the defense, his QB rating of 49.2 somehow oversells his performance. He was the beneficiary of three dropped interceptions by a generous Bengal defense (one of which would have scored) and was lucky that Rey Maualuga lost his footing on the one pick Cincinnati did hold on to, as that likely would gone for six as well.

Signature Stat: Mallett completed just five passes over ten yards in the air. Prior to the Texans’ final drive against prevent defense, Mallett had passed for 119 yards.

Jared Crick, DE: +5.0

Breakdown: Watt may get all the accolades, but Crick had an excellent day in his own right. Held in check as a pass rusher, Crick was constantly in the fray against the run, getting the better of both Andrew Whitworth and Clint Boling on several occasions.

Signature Play: Q4, 13:24. Initially doubled by both left side of Cincy’s line, Crick quickly sent Whitworth to the ground before riding sliding outside Boling to take down Giovani Bernard for no gain.

D.J. Swearinger, S: +0.2

Breakdown: Off the heels of a couple of poor performances, Swearinger saw his lowest snap count (59) since Week 2. He made a few nice plays against on Sunday, notably taking down Andy Dalton on an option keeper and on a third down scramble, but with the good comes the bad, as Swearinger was at fault for the Bengals’ longest run of the day.

Signature Play: Q4, 2:55. Down six and desperately in need of a defensive stop, Swearinger over pursued Hill inside (where his teammate Mike Mohamed was ready and waiting) only for Hill to make a nice cut outside and burn the Texans’ defense for 30 yards, setting up a field goal that would put Cincinnati up two scores and effectively end the game.

PFF Game Ball

He wasn’t on the winning side, but as long as J.J. Watt (+8.9) keeps doing J.J. Watt things, there are plenty more game balls where this one came from.


  • X x

    Wow! I usually agree with the ratings but the rating on Newhouse is dumbfounding. Watt was not as disruptive as he has been this season. He registered no sacks and this going against a back up! A rating of -5.6 would make me think Watt had a field day against Newhouse. Yes he did knife through one play and make a stop on Hill and yes there was help sometimes for him but for the most part he held his own against a player who is in discussion for League MVP. Shame on you PFF for giving out this low rating to someone who did admirable against Watt.

    • Dildo Baggins

      Sacks are apparently the only stat that matters…

      “Yes he did knife through one play and make a stop on Hill”
      So you missed the other 5 stops he made?

      • X x

        5 other stops? He had only one tackle for a loss, I can’t tell you what the yards per carry was when running to his side but he had a pretty mundane day against a back up. If you count the swatted ball then he had two stops. What is your defintion of a stop? Two yards or less on a rush? Passes knocked down on the line of scrimmage?

        • Dildo Baggins

          You should read the FAQ.

          11) What constitutes a “stop” or “offensive failure?”

          It’s when an offense fails to get:

          40 percent of the required yards for another first down on first down

          60 percent of the required yards for a first down on second down

          A first down on third or fourth down.

          Watt even had back to back stops in the 3rd quarter with 8:53 to go. The two plays before the pick six by Jonathan Joseph (assisted by Jared Crick on the first one)

          • X x

            Oh ok, I understand now, But even with that the Bengals still managed 5ypc when running to the right side. We talking about a league MVP candidate here against a backup. I guess the rating system doesn’t take the into consideration. So far this is the only site I’ve read that says Newhouse played poorly on Watt.

          • Dildo Baggins

            This is also the only site that actually watches tape.

          • Chris

            That’s because most sites look at the box score, see Watt with no sacks, and assume he did nothing. Which is what 99% of fans do.

            I know it’s beating a dead horse and I do it all the time on here, but pass rushers can still dominate a game without logging a sack. If Watt beats Newhouse almost instantly and gets to Dalton in under 2 seconds, but the ball is already gone, is that Watt’s fault? He still won his matchup, but will have nothing to show for it on the statsheet.

            Dalton is notoriously one of the quickest to throw the ball in the league – he is currently tied with Brady for 2nd behind only Peyton for average time to throw. So while Watt is busy dominating Newhouse, the ball is already gone the majority of the time. That isn’t Watt’s fault and the guys who actually watch the tape (PFF) can see that while guys that just look at the box score (everyone else) don’t.

            And this is coming from a Bengals fan. Smith was one of the best in the league. If Newhouse is starting there the rest of the year it will be trouble.

          • X x

            Ok I think you guys are missing the point here, I’m not saying Newhouse should be in the green but -5.6 is too low. He did his job, he kept Watt off Dalton rather it was for 2 seconds or 5 seconds. I’m also not saying Watt played poorly I’m saying he was not as effective rather it was the gameplan the double teaming whatever the case maybe. Watt was not a big factor in this game. Like I said above there was 7 run plays to his said that average out to be 5 yards per carry. He registered zero sacks (yes sacks are important), 1 pass deflection and one maybe two QB hurries. If they want to downgrade him based on plays that weren’t to his side or where he could only block Watt long enough for Dalton to get the pass off rather he blocked him for 2 seconds and the pass was thrown in 2.5 seconds then Ok I guess. But from what I seen Newhouse did a good job.

            And as a Bengal fan (only reason I’m on this blog post) I agree Newhouse is the weakest link on the line but he came thru for us Sunday.

          • Chris

            No, you’re not understanding the fundamental reason for why they grad every player on every play. You’re still pointing to box score numbers and saying Newhouse must have done a good enough job. The point of this website is to go beyond box score numbers to accurately portray what happened on the field.

            Watt picked up 3 hurries and 1 QB hit on 39 rushes, meaning he only got an official box score pressure on 10% of his pass rushing snaps (4 of 39). That 10% is a good ways below the 17% he has averaged this season – based on his averages he should have had 7 pressures and 1 sack yesterday, not 4 pressures and no sacks. So look at that, Watt had a below-Watt-average day, right? Newhouse must have done his job pretty well?

            Stop focusing on end results. Statistics were invented/implemented in order to quantify how players do their jobs on the field. Except 99% of stats are misleading, as they measure only the end result and don’t take into account about 87 other factors that happen per play.

            The best way to measure performance on the field is to watch individual matchups and grade every player on how well they did their job on that assigned play.

            So for Watt they watch every single play and keep track of how often and how quickly he beats his man. Again, it’s not Watt’s fault that the ball is thrown away to a quick slant – if he got there in under 2 seconds that’s a win for Watt and most likely a loss for Newhouse. If he’s doing that on 75% of the snaps during the game, it doesn’t matter what the box score stats look like – for the majority of the game Watt was beating Newhouse consistently and quickly. That’s what the grades tell you that the box score can’t.

          • X x

            I understand what you are saying I’m not going solely on the box score. I’m going by what I seen Sunday and using the box score to justify my reasoning, as I don’t have NFL rewind and can point you to the exact plays. If a pass play is designed to be fired off quick lets say under 3 seconds but Dalton holds on to the ball for 3.5 and Watt gets past Newhouse in 3 seconds who wins that battle? Newhouse? And Dalton is rank low for holding on to the ball for 3.5 seconds on a quick pass play and Watt gets no credit cause Newhouse held him for the designed required time? If you or this site (as I was corrected earlier and directed to the FAQ) is saying if a DT/LB gets past his man on a pass plays in 2 or less seconds thats a win/positive for the DT/LB regardless if the play is two step quick pass or five step drop pass. Every pass Dalton threw was not a quick pass. This is Newhouse we are talking about not Smith. Newhouse a career backup who was able to help let our running game get 5 ypc on his side of the field, allowed zero sacks(lets not count the pass plays that were quick and it’s still zero). Against a League MVP candidate not against another back up but A LEAGUE MVP candidate so yes under the circumstances Newhouse did his job. Did Watt play poorly NO, did Watt have an MVP type game you can argue that. And I’m pretty sure the sites that I visit are not only looking at the box score.

            If you’re telling me Watt is beating Newhouse consistently and quickly on 75% of the snaps. I’m left wondering how we managed 5 ypc on his side of the field. Why there aren’t more negative run plays. Why he has zero sacks and only 4 QB hurries on 39 pass plays even if half them where quick pass plays that’s still low for someone who beat his man 75% of the time. Just to cement my stance Did Newhouse have an All-Pro game NO did Newhouse have an extremely poor game No he had a decent game against a League MVP candidate. Did Watt have an All-Pro game against a back up No, did Watt have a poor game No He just wasn’t a huge factor as one would expect going against a back up

          • Chris

            Okay several things here.

            Plays aren’t designed with an “average time to throw”. If it’s a quick hitter it’s usually well under 2 seconds, but any play that requires 2 or 3 reads is going to take longer. But there’s no set time of “under 3 seconds to make this throw”. Now if the QB holds onto the ball way too long (~5+ seconds), they’ll knock the QB for that. And similarly if a tackle gives up a sack after the QB held it for 8 seconds, the tackle is not at fault because he did his job for well longer than expected. So the scenario you described is technically correct – if Watt gets pressure because Dalton holds onto the ball too long, Watt should get a slight credit for beating his man at all, Dalton should get a downgrade for holding onto the ball too long and taking a sack, and Newhouse wouldn’t be punished for blocking his man “long enough”.

            The average time for a QB in the pocket is ~2.5 seconds. A defensive lineman’s job is to beat his man and get to the QB quicker than average, and hope the QB still has the ball. If he does this on 75% of snaps, but the ball is gone every time, he won’t make the stat sheet once, yet he still dominated his matchup all day.

            You say Dalton didn’t throw it quick most of the time? 30 of his 38 dropbacks were thrown in less than the 2.5 average time. That sounds to me like the gameplan was designed to get the ball out quickly. And that leaves Watt with just 9 snaps where Dalton held the ball “longer than average” to get a sack – it’s tough to sack the QB when he’s throwing it quicker than average almost 80% of the time. But that isn’t Watt’s fault.

            Let’s also not forget that the rest of the OL combined allowed just 2 pressures while Newhouse allowed 4 himself. And Watt’s 4 pressures were twice what the rest of the front 7 produced, so it’s not like anybody on the Texans pass rushing corps had a good day. And that was after they blew up the Browns last week for 20 pressures. However Hoyer was right along average in terms of holding onto the ball in both average throw time and % of throws out under 2.5 seconds. So the front 7 had an easier job this week. And that is the key here – the Bengals gameplan involved getting the ball away quickly (nearly ~2 seconds). Just about everyone but Watt was invisible because of this, but he still managed 4 pressures which came at the expense of Newhouse.

            And if you want to get really technical, we didn’t run the ball well to the right side.

            We had 11 carries that went outside the guard/tackle/end. These carries combined for 41 yards, which is a below average 3.7 YPC. But, 19 of those yards came on one carry by Bernard, meaning the other 10 carries combined for just 22 yards. Also known as 2.2 YPC. I’m not sure where you’re getting 5 YPC to the right side, but I see below average numbers.

            That 75% was a hypothetical number. I have no idea how often Watt won the matchup, only that given the grades he did it more often that not.

            Hypothetically Watt could win the matchup 100% of the time, blowing Newhouse off the ball on run plays and knifing right by him on pass plays, but if we run away from him every down and throw quick slants all day he could come away with zero in the box score. Zero tackles and zero pressures despite playing every snap? Sounds like a bad day, until you watch the tape and see he dominated the individual matchup and it wasn’t his fault every run went away from him or every pass got out quick.

            The bottom line is, Watt beat Newhouse often but due to the quick-passing gameplan it didn’t show up in the box score. It might not even make the eye test while you’re watching the game. Most people watch the ball (i.e. the QB/HB) during the game, so if the ball is thrown quickly to the left, does anyone really notice that the DE on the other side beat his man quickly but the ball was already gone?

            The grades that Watt and Newhouse were given are indicative of how they played, despite what the box score shows. Newhouse was beaten frequently but the ball was gone so nothing went in the statsheet. But that doesn’t mean Newhouse had a good day – it means his bad day went largely unnoticed to anyone that didn’t pay him attention.

          • X x

            Where did you get the 11 run plays to the right side of the field stats from? I got 7 for 35 yds, from looking at the play by play I could have miscounted though. I don’t have a subscription to this site.

            Ok that’s exactly what I was getting at if they say the average time for a QB is ~2.5 seconds to release the ball and Watt is beating him in 2 seconds then that’s a positive for Watt and a negative for Newhouse. But if Dalton gets the pass off as soon as Watt is free is that still a negative for Newhouse? Not free as in Dalton face (which I think would count as a QB hurry) but free as in he’s past Newhouse and about 1 second from Dalton.

            If the play is to the left side of the field let’s say a bubble screen. Newhouse will know he just have to do enough for Dalton get the ball off. If Watt gets past him in 1.5 seconds but the ball was gone in 1 second that still a negative towards Newhouse even though his work is down in the play is already 5 yds down field? Granted I should look more at how PFF does their scoring before criticizing but imo there grading on this particular player on this particular game is off. I usually agree with them on their rating after a Bengals game.

          • X x

            I’m seeing the 19 yarder as being up the middle then right after that Hill ran for 13 behind the right guard that’s 32 yards right there. I didn’t count the 19 yards and my average because it stated up the middle. But that means 9 other run plays went for 11 yards to the right side which I’m not finding around the 3 minute mark Gio ran for 4 ( I believe Smith was out by then) Then in the 3qtr Gio ran for 9 yards around the 10 min mark. Unless that was counted as a shovel pass( usually indcates shovel/quick pass) that 13 yards in two more carries past the 11 in 9.

          • Chris

            I don’t have the individual runs, but I do remember there was another 20 yard carry that went up the middle left so that’s probably the one you’re talking about.

            As far as your bubble screen example – there is no set amount of time a lineman has to block. It’s more like “what would an average RT do on this play?” If the play is a bubble screen, then he doesn’t have to do much – blocking his man for 1 second should be enough. If it’s a 9 step drop, max-protect post route, then he’ll have to block for 3-5 seconds before he “did his job” on that play.

            I guess look at it more like, if they did worse than what an average player should do they get a negative grade on that play. So on an average play the RT should block the DE for ~2.5 seconds. If he does that consistently he’ll have a good grade. If he gets beat consistently under 2 seconds then he’ll have a negative grade.

          • X x

            Ok I get you.

          • X x

            I’ll see if I can catch it again on NFL channel and I’ll watch that match up and maybe I’ll see what they seen but watching it live I just can’t go that low on Newhouse maybe -2 or -2.5