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Looking Back At The Bengals Top 2018 Next Gen Stats Performers

181102-Erickson-Alex_action (AP)
Wide Receiver Alex Erickson. Erickson was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2018. Ranked fifth in 2018 with a 26.2 kick return yard average.

Whether it is the traditional statistics or new-age analytics, the Bengals in 2018 enjoyed a couple of remarkable performances according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats.

Per the NFL, player tracking or Next Gen Stats, is the capture of real time location data, speed and acceleration for every player, every play on every inch of the field. Sensors throughout the stadium track tags placed on players' shoulder pads, charting individual movements within inches.

2018 marked the fifth season that this technology has been used in some form with the league. With that in mind, here are some of the Bengals' top analytic performances from this past season.

Fastest Bengal

With so many incredibly fast Bengals on the roster like A.J. Green, William Jackson and John Ross, it might surprise many that Cincinnati's fleetest play this year came from receiver Alex Erickson.

Erickson's second-half kickoff against the Oakland Raiders had him at a top speed of 21.52 miles per hour. It was the speediest kickoff return in the NFL and overall the 16th-fastest ball carrying play of the season.

Longest Tackle

Erickson once again makes the list after running down New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams for 87.8 yards after an interception. Right behind him was Bengals linebacker Hardy Nickerson who chased down Cleveland's David Njoku 87 yards.

Improbable Completions

Next Gen Stats built a machine learning model that determines the probability of a pass being completed. The machine learning model takes into account stats such as air distance, air yards and receiver separation.

The second-most improbable completion in 2018 came when Andy Dalton found Ross along the side of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown pass at Baltimore. Dalton's pass to Ross had a 12.3 percent completion probability. 

Another top 20 improbable catch happened in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers when Dalton's pass to Green was initially ruled incomplete. However, Cincinnati challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was reversed and ruled a reception for 31 yards. The probability of Dalton to Green was 14.9 percent.

Average Cushion and Separation

Green had a limited amount of space all year to operate. Green's 4.4 yards per cushion ranked the second fewest in the league behind Detroit's Marvin Jones. C.J. Uzomah also faced tight coverage most of the year ranking 15th in the NFL at 5.0 yards per cushion.

Green also caught the ball in traffic on average with only two yards of separation, which tied him for third in the NFL with Allen Robinson and David Moore. Ross also ranked in the Top 10 making a catch with only 2.2 yards per separation.

Time To Throw

Jeff Driskel showcased a quick release and ranked third in the NFL in Time to Throw at 2.56 seconds. Time To Throw measures the average amount of time elapsed from the time of snap to throw on every pass attempt for a passer.

For a full rundown of Next Gen Stats, visit nextgenstats.nfl.com/stats.

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