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Bengals at Titans Game Notes

Posted Nov 11, 2017

The Bengals at Titans game kicks off on Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX.

Kickoff: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Television: FOX broadcast with Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Mark Schlereth (analyst) and Shannon Spake (sideline reporter). The game will be aired in the Bengals home market on WXIX-TV (Channel 19) in Cincinnati, WRGT-TV (Channel 45) in Dayton and WDKY-TV (Channel 56) in Lexington.

Radio: Coverage on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).

Setting the scene: The NFL schedule seldom offers breaks to teams, and it certainly will not do so this weekend for Cincinnati. The Bengals, looking for a win to revive their playoff hopes, will play the second of three straight road games on Sunday when they take on the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.

Cincinnati last week suffered a disappointing 23-7 loss at Jacksonville to fall to 3-5, and the setback has left the Bengals looking for answers and solutions, particularly on offense. The Jaguars held the Bengals to a season-low 148 net yards, including just 29 yards rushing, on a season-low total of just 37 offensive plays. If the Bengals are to find a path to re-enter the field of AFC playoff contenders, their work toward reaching that goal surely starts there.

Meanwhile, Tennessee’s momentum factor is considered high heading into Sunday’s contest — the Titans are 5-3 and winners of three straight, including a 23-20 win vs. Baltimore last week.

“(The Jacksonville game) was tough on us,” said Bengals wide receiver Brandon LaFell. “We have to find a way to sustain drives, stop stepping on our own toes on first down and getting into third-and-longs. We’re making it harder on ourselves. It’s definitely harder to score when you don’t sustain drives.”

The positive takeaway from the Jaguars game is that, despite the offensive struggles, the Bengals were down by just six points at halftime, and just nine points after three quarters. Not until Jacksonville WR Jaydon Mickens scored on a 63-yard punt return on the second play of the fourth quarter was Cincinnati forced to resort virtually entirely to pass plays in an attempt to close the deficit. By that point, the Jaguars’ defense, which entered the game leading the league in both net passing yards allowed and sacks, was able to shift all of its attention to shutting down the Bengals’ passing game.

“The breakdown in punt coverage for the touchdown to start the fourth quarter basically put us out of the game at that point,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. “It’s hard. We have to play better. We have to look at how we’re doing things, who we’re doing it with, and see what the best way to come out of this is.”

In preparing for the Titans, the Bengals surely will focus on improving on third downs this week, on both sides of the ball. While Cincinnati’s offense converted just one of eight third downs (12.5 percent) against Jacksonville last week, its defense allowed the Jaguars to convert 12 of 18 (66.7).

“We are into November football,” said Bengals C Russell Bodine. “Panic doesn’t do anybody any good, but certainly, there’s a sense of urgency. Everybody has to step it up a little bit. We haven’t been playing well enough to win consistently.

“We need to get hot in a hurry, that’s for sure.”

The Bengals and Titans (formerly Houston Oilers) are former division rivals, and, historically, the two teams are close. Tennessee leads the long series by just five games, 39-34-1 (the series includes one playoff game), and in the 73 regular-season contests, the Bengals and Titans are virtually even in collective points scored. The Bengals lead that category, but by only six points, 1693-1687. Neither side has ever been shut out. The Bengals have won the last two meetings, 24-17 at Tennessee in 2011 and 33-7 at Cincinnati in ’14.

“We have to come to play hard this week,” LaFell said. “That’s just the way it is. It’s still early enough in the season to have a chance to do what we want to do this year. Tennessee will want to defend their turf, so we have to go in there and find a way to win.”

The series: The Bengals and Titans (formerly Oilers) have met 74 times, making the Titans the third-most played foe in Bengals history. Cincinnati has played more games against only Pittsburgh (96) and Cleveland (88). The Bengals and Titans/Oilers were rivals in the old AFC Central Division, playing twice per year in the regular season from 1970-2001.

The Titans lead 39-34-1 in the series. The Titans lead 22-13 as the home team, including 17-10 at Houston and 5-3 at Tennessee. The series total includes one postseason game, a 41-14 Bengals win over Houston in a 1990 season Wild Card game at Riverfront Stadium.

Team bests from the series:

BengalsMOST POINTS: 61 (twice), in wins of 61-17 at the Astrodome in 1972 and 61-7 at Cincinnati in ’89. The games are tied for the Bengals’ all-time high score in any game. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 54, in the 61-7 ’89 game (Bengals’ largest winning margin in any game). FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 3, in a 13-3 victory at Cincinnati in 1984.

Titans — MOST POINTS: 48, in a 48-17 victory at Houston in 1990. LARGEST VICTORY MARGIN: 35 (twice), in wins of 41-6 at Houston in 1988 and 38-3 at Cincinnati in ’93. FEWEST POINTS ALLOWED: 3 (five times), most recently in a 35-3 win at Nashville in 2000.

Records vs. Titans: In their long series against the Titans (formerly Oilers) franchise, the Bengals have posted a number of record performances:

      ●  The Bengals record for points in a game was set in a 61-17 win at Houston on Dec. 17, 1972, and Cincinnati tied that mark 17 years to the day later in a 61-7 win vs. Houston on Dec. 17, 1989. In the 1972 win, the Bengals also set the team record for most points in a half, posting 45 second-half points.

      ●  The Bengals record for victory margin (54) was set in the 61-7 win over Houston in 1989.

      ●  Cincinnati scored a team-record five rushing TDs vs. Houston on Oct. 6, 1983, and then tied that mark vs. the Oilers on Oct. 23, 1988.

      ●  The Bengals’ team record for first downs (35) was set vs. Houston on Dec. 17, 1989.

      ●  The Bengals’ team record for third-down conversions (14) was set against Tennessee in 2007 (Cincinnati had 18 attempts that game).

      ●  The Bengals’ individual records for TDs (four) and points (24) in a game have been set three times, two of those against the Titans/Oilers franchise. They were first set by FB Larry Kinnebrew at Houston on Oct. 28, 1984, and then tied by HB Corey Dillon vs. Tennessee on Dec. 4, 1997. The most recent instance was by WR Marvin Jones vs. the N.Y. Jets on Oct. 27, 2013.

      ●  On Dec. 17, 1972 in Houston, CB Lemar Parrish became the first Bengal to record three interceptions in a game. That mark that has been matched seven times since, including by S David Fulcher, also against the Oilers, on Dec. 17, 1989. In the ’72 contest, Parrish returned two of those INTs for TDs, which is the only instance in team history a Bengals defender has done so.

      ●  Chris Bahr’s 55-yard FG at Houston on Sept. 23, 1979 stood alone for 33 years in Bengals records as the team’s longest FG, until Mike Nugent tied it with a 55-yarder vs. Oakland in 2012.

      ●  On Sept. 12, 1999 at Tennessee, P Will Brice set a Bengals record for average yards per punt in a game, with a 63.0-yard average (189 yards on three punts; minimum three punts).

      For the Titans/Oilers:

      ●  On Oct. 14, 1990 at Houston, Oilers QB Warren Moon became the first passer to throw five TD passes against the Bengals. That record still stands, though it has been matched four times since, including again by Moon on
Oct. 11, 1992 in Cincinnati.

Individually vs. Titans: Past offensive performances by current Cincinnati players against Tennessee include:

      ●  QB Andy Dalton: Two games; 2-0 W-L record; 37 completions in 62 attempts (59.7 percent) for 386 yards, three TDs and one INT (87.2 rating).

      ●  WR A.J. Green: Two games; 13 receptions for 185 yards (14.2 yards per catch; 92.5 yards per game).

      ●  HB Giovani Bernard: One game; 14 carries for 47 yards (3.4) with two TDs; One catch for seven yards.

      ●  H-B Ryan Hewitt: One game; One reception for six yards.

      ●  HB Jeremy Hill: One game; Seven carries for 39 yards (5.6) with one TD.

      ●  HB Cedric Peerman: One game; Five carries for 15 yards (3.0).

Bengals career records watch: Here is a look at potential upcoming movement in the Bengals’ career records book (regular season).

      ●  QB Andy Dalton has 153 career TD passes, one shy of QB Carson Palmer (154) for third place all-time. QB Ken Anderson (197) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

      ●  Dalton also has 22 career 300-yard passing games, one shy of the Bengals’ all-time leader, QB Boomer Esiason (23).

      ●  Dalton also has 3296 career passing attempts, 268 shy of Esiason (3564) for second place all-time. Anderson (4475) is the Bengals’ all-time leader. Dalton passed Palmer (3217) for third place all-time in Game 5, Oct. 8 vs. Buffalo.

      ●  WR A.J. Green has 53 career TDs, tied with WR Isaac Curtis for fifth place all-time. FB Pete Johnson (70) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

      ●  Green also has 53 career receiving TDs, tied with WR Isaac Curtis for third place all-time. WR Chad Johnson (66) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

      ●  Green also has 520 career receptions, 10 shy of WR Carl Pickens (530) for second place all-time. Johnson (751) is the Bengals’ all-time leader. Green passed WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (507) for third place all-time in Game 5, Oct. 8 vs. Buffalo.

      ●  Green has 30 career 100-yard receiving games, one shy of the Bengals’ all-time leader, Johnson (31).

      ●  HB Jeremy Hill has 29 career rushing TDs, eight shy of HB James Brooks and FB Larry Kinnebrew (37 each) for fourth place all-time. FB Pete Johnson
(64) is the all-time leader.

      ●  P Kevin Huber has 29,401 career punting yards, 2795 shy of the Bengals’ all-time leader, P Lee Johnson (32,196). Huber passed P Pat McInally (29,307) for second place all-time in Game 8, Nov. 5 at Jacksonville.

      ●  CB Adam Jones has 1065 career punt return yards as a Bengal, 136 shy of CB Lemar Parrish (1201) for third place all-time. WR Brandon Tate (1411) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

      ●  Jones also has one punt return for a TD as a Bengal. One more would tie him for second-most all-time with WR Peter Warrick, WR Craig Yeast and CB Mitchell Price (each with two). Parrish (four) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

      ●  DE Carlos Dunlap has 59 career sacks, tied with DE Ross Browner for third place all-time. DE Eddie Edwards (83.5) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

      ●  DT Geno Atkins has 57 career sacks, two shy of Dunlap and Browner (59) for third place all-time. Edwards (83.5) is the Bengals’ all-time leader.

Bengals’ road offense perfect in red zone: Scoring on the road can be difficult for any offense, and so is scoring TDs in the red zone. But the Bengals have managed perfection when combining both of those challenges, scoring TDs on all eight of their trips into the red zone as the road team this season. No other team has done so, with the Jets (six of seven), Buccaneers (seven of nine) and Raiders (six of nine) coming closest.

The Bengals were two-for-two scoring TDs in the red-zone in Game 3 at Green Bay, three-for-three in Game 4 at Cleveland, two-for-two in Game 6 at Pittsburgh, and one-for-one last week at Jacksonville.

Overall, Cincinnati ranks 24th in scoring TDs in the red zone, reaching the end zone in 10 of its 21 trips (47.6 percent).

The Bengals’ opponent this week, Tennessee, ranks 27th in the NFL in red-zone defense, having allowed touchdowns on 60.7 percent of their opponents’ red-zone possessions (17 out of 28).

Bengals’ defense locks down the red zone: The Bengals currently lead the league in red-zone defense, allowing touchdowns on only 32.1 percent of opponents’ trips into the red zone (nine of 28). Opponents have come away with points on 89.3 percent of their trips to the red zone (16 FGs, nine TDs). Over the last four games, the Bengals have allowed just five touchdowns in 19 opponent trips into the red zone.

Last week vs. Jacksonville, the Jaguars scored one TD and two FGs in their four red-zone trips.

The Titans enter this weekend’s game ranked tied for 19th in red-zone offense, scoring 10 TDs in 20 trips.

Call it the ‘Breezer Bowl’: Though it was no match for the famous “Freezer Bowl” in Bengals lore, the Titans’ 2008 visit to Cincinnati perhaps should be remembered — with due seriousness — as the “Breezer Bowl.”

The wind speed at kickoff of the Titans’ 24-7 win at Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 14, 2008 was 21 mph. However, it drastically changed very soon after the game started. The remnants of Hurricane Ike combined with another strong weather system to produce a powerful windstorm by the end of the first quarter. The final three quarters of the game were played in sustained winds of over 70 mph, which nearly qualified as a Category 1 hurricane (defined as sustained winds of 74-95 mph). The Bengals and Titans managed only 127 and 118 passing yards, respectively.

Though the game was played without incident or other weather conditions such as rain, the windstorm was extremely damaging to areas outside the stadium. It left more than a million people without power in the Greater Cincinnati area, some for more than a month. It was the worst disaster in the region in 2008, with damage estimates nearing $1 billion.

Bengals-Titans connections: Titans assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was a Bengals assistant coach from 1980-91 and ’97-2000, and was Bengals head coach from Game 4 of ’00-02. LeBeau is from London, Ohio, and played at Ohio State University. ... Bengals CB Adam Jones entered the NFL as a first-round draft choice (sixth overall) of the Titans in 2005 and was with the team through the 2007 season ... Bengals WR Josh Malone is from Gallatin, Tenn. (Station Camp High School), and played at the University of Tennessee ... Titans G Josh Kline is from Mason, Ohio (Mason High School) ... Titans LBs Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard played at the University of Kentucky ... Titans P Brett Kern and RB David Fluellen played at the University of Toledo ... Titans WR Taywan Taylor is from Louisville, Ky. ... Titans WR Harry Douglas (Reserve/Injured) played at the University of Louisville ... Bengals defensive line coach Jacob Burney is from Chattanooga, Tenn., played at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and coached at the University of Tennessee in 1993 ... Bengals secondary coach Robert Livingston coached at Vanderbilt University in 2011 ... Titans assistant special teams coach Craig Aukerman is from McComb, Ohio, played at the University of Findlay, and coached at Findlay (2000) and Miami (Ohio) University (’01-02) ... Titans defensive assistant Brandon Blaney coached at Ohio State University in 2001 ... Titans quarterbacks coach Jason Michael is from Portsmouth, Ohio ... Titans strength and conditioning assistant Taylor Porter coached at the University of Louisville from 2010-13 ... Titans assistant
defensive line coach Keith Willis coached at the University of Cincinnati from 1999-2000.

Uniform watch: The Bengals are scheduled to wear white jerseys and black pants this week at the Titans.

Since 2004, the year of the Bengals’ last significant uniform redesign, a number of color options for jerseys and pants have been available. Below are the records (regular season plus postseason) for the different combinations:

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