CINCINNATI – The common trend among the four remaining teams in the NFL playoffs is not difficult to see.
Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Buffalo enjoy scoring points. Many of them.
All four teams were among the six best offenses during the regular season and among the five best offensive points according to ESPN Stats & Information.
And, in a strange way, it could explain why a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in 30 years kept a coach with six wins in two seasons.
If the Cincinnati Bengals When they hired Zac Taylor to coach in 2019, they had the NFL’s offensive revolution in mind. To win at a high level means to get one, and that is Taylor’s football philosophy.
As he enters a critical third year, Taylor’s success depends on the ability to deliver something he said during his introductory press conference.
“I think we’re going to bring an exciting kind of insult, an attacking creative kind of insult,” said Taylor in February 2019. “I think people will be happy with what they see.”
In the past, AFC North was a division known for old school football. And almost immediately it was clear that Taylor’s offense wasn’t going to be that way.
For each of Taylor’s first two seasons, the Bengals used the pass-friendly “11 staff” – a close end and a rewind – more than any other team in the NFL.
As Cincinnati neared the final game of their season with four wins, Taylor was asked if the perception that tall, physical guys were needed to win a bruised division that the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns. For the past two years, Cincinnati ranked 17th in points per trip among the 24 teams that faced rivals in the Bengals Division, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The biggest key in Zac Taylor’s plan to step up the Bengals offensive is getting quarterback Joe Burrow back to health for 2021. Andy Lewis / Icon Sportswire
“They hate to say you have to play a certain style,” Taylor said on December 30th. “But of course you have to keep an eye on every detail when you go into one of those division games.”
A look at the teams that are still in the AFC shows how important a dynamic and pass-oriented offensive approach is for teams aiming for a Super Bowl run.
The Chiefs and the Bills led the NFL in total yards during the regular season and were ranked top three in passing yards. Green Bay and Tampa Bay, the remaining NFC teams, are also having productive air strikes. The Packers, trained by former Los Angeles Rams Assistant Matt LaFleur, led the NFL in temporary touchdowns in 2020
Kansas City and Buffalo are each led by young star quarterbacks, which the Bengals consider rookie Joe Burrow. And before the 2020 top overall winner suffered a knee injury at the end of the season in Week 11, Cincinnati showed off glimpses of an ongoing offensive attack in Burrow’s first year with Taylor.
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At mid-2020, Burrow was on track to break Andrew Luck’s record for most passing yards from a rookie (4,374). There was a brief three-week period during which the Bengals led the NFL in points per trip. And the offense was directed at the strengths of his future franchise quarterback.
“In my opinion [the coaching staff] I understood very well what I’m good at and tailored it to me early on, “said Burrow in January.” And I think I took steps later in the year that enabled us to open up the offense a little. “
With burrow out, the flexibility of Taylor’s offensive was shown in two wins against Pittsburgh and Houston with two different quarterbacks. Against the Steelers, the Bengals with a run-heavy approach with quarterback Ryan Finley. When Brandon Allen When he was in the spotlight a week later, he hit a career high of 371 meters in Cincinnati’s first road win since 2018.
After two years, Taylor knows this is critical to the success he will have in Cincinnati.
“Some people have some strengths that I may not have seen in the past,” said Taylor. “That is why it is only important for every coach to develop further over the course of a season, over the course of several seasons. And that is exactly what we do.”
Taylor’s ability to help the Bengals ride the wave of the League’s offensive revolution was one of the anchor points of his hiring. If Burrow returns completely healthy for all of 2021, Taylor will have the opportunity to show if he can live up to that expectation and bring the Bengals their first postseason berth since 2015.
Winning is more than a big offense, but a look at the teams remaining in the playoffs shows that winning without one at a high level is difficult.