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- The Bengals had their first road win versus Denver since 1975 while the Broncos lost their sixth game in a row.
- If you were to look at the offensive stats and not the score, you would think that the Broncos easily won the game as they were better than the Bengals in total yards, plays run, and time of possession. But the Bengals game plan defensively was to stop the ground game and force Broncos QB Brock Osweiler to throw and to get to him often.
- Cincinnati’s commitment to the ground game allowed them to run a play action pass oriented offense. In the passing game, they targeted Broncos cornerback Brandon Roby. He was torched for two touchdown passes and called for a costly pass interference penalty to give the Bengals a new set of downs that took time off the clock.
- The Broncos defense adjusted well to some early Bengals success and didn’t allow any points from the end of the 1st quarter until late in the fourth quarter.
- The Denver offense had good field position during the game, but were unable to take advantage. For example, they had great field position after blocking a punt on the Bengals first drive but came away with no points as they threw an interception near the goalline. The Broncos offense emptied the backfield and threw rather than attempt running plays. The Broncos used their personnel well and running back Devontae Booker had an expanded role in the offense, especially as a pass catcher.
- Key Decision #1: The Bengals used timeouts well at the end of the first half. They called a timeout to “ice” the Broncos kicker. The Bengals blocked the Broncos field goal attempt.
- Key Decision #2: On 4th and 1, with about 4:08 left in the first quarter, and at the Bengals 2 -yard line, Denver successfully attempted a 4th down conversion. They elected to not kick a field goal. This gamble was successful as the drive ended in a touchdown.
- Key Decision #3: On the second to last Bengals drive, the Broncos used all three of their timeouts to get the ball back to give themselves a good opportunity to attempt to tie or win the game. The Broncos had the ball at their own 20 with 1:52 left but were unable to move the ball successfully and the game ended at 20-17.