Bengals head coach Zac Taylor has done pretty well this season when it comes to getting his team ready during the week for what kind of game is going to unfold on Sunday. And quarterback Joe Burrow has done a pretty good job (well enough to be the second-rated passer in the league) putting it into action.
During this past week, Burrow knew he would need to answer Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes with some points of his own.
"That's safe to say," Burrow said. "They've been one of the best offenses in the league since he has been the starting quarterback. We're going in expecting to have to score a lot of points and we'll adapt accordingly."
Which means the Bengals need to be efficient with their drives netting points while limiting Mahomes' possessions. Translation: They can't turn it over and Burrow has done a nice job not doing that.
He hasn't thrown an interception in the last three games, the same stretch the Chiefs have three picks among their 10 turnovers.
"I'm being smarter with the football," said Burrow, who hasn't been picked in 107 straight passes. "I'm not trying to be a hero on every play. We've kind of turned our luck in that situation. Some of the batted balls that turned into interceptions at the beginning of the year have gone the other way, and that's how the season goes sometimes.
"They've been forcing a lot of turnovers. They are top two or three in the league in forcing turnovers and they're very opportunistic in those situations. We're going to have to take care of the ball and take our opportunities when they come and be smart with the football."
SPEED TRAP: Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is highly cognizant of Chiefs speedy receiver Tyreek Hill. And one of the reasons the 5-10 Hill scares the heck out of him is because he isn't 6-3.
"The Ferraris that are built close to the ground, they can stop, start and turn," Anarumo said. "That's what this kid is. He is fast as fast can be, but he's so low to the ground he can stop and start and has such great quickness. He is truly one of the blessed athletes in our league. It is unbelievable. Body structure has a lot to do with that. When you are able to sink your hips and stop like that normally 6-2, 6-3 guys can't do that. They don't exist generally speaking."
The Chiefs are so fast that the Bengals top cornerback and maybe their fastest best player, Chidobe Awuzie, may have to change his approach. Awuzie has been great at making up ground when a receiver gets behind him.
"He gets me crazy because he let some of these guys get behind him, and then he goes and catches them," Anarumo said. "I'd rather him just stay on top and make the play easier. But he's crafty that way. He can run. He uses his ability well.
"If this guy (Hill) gets behind us, there's nobody to catch him. Just watch the tape of anybody in the league. Once he's behind you, he's behind you. This guy is an Olympic sprinter. It's different. Different."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: There is one person left from that Nov. 16, 2003 win over the undefeated Chiefs that gave rise to the Marvin Lewis Bengals.
Darrin Simmons, Lewis's special teams coach. And he's noticed the similarities, too. That Chiefs team that opened the season with nine straight wins also had a video game offense loaded with speed and a Hall of Fame tight end when they rolled into PBS.
And the Bengals were a young team on the rise. It sounded so similar that on Saturday night Simmons showed his guys a couple of kicking game clips from that game, highlighted, of course, by wide receiver Peter Warrick's 'I'm going to seal it with a kiss," 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter …
The last time the Chiefs won in Cincinnati, it was in Riverfront Stadium in 1984. Running back Theotis Brown started the scoring for the Chiefs with a five-yard touchdown run that gave them a 7-0 lead on the way to a 27-22 win over the Ken Anderson Bengals. Brown, who had 48 yards on 14 carries, is the father of Bengals scout Trey Brown …
Linebacker Germaine Pratt had to be activated Saturday if he had a chance to be active Sunday, but apparently he didn't pass COVID protocols and was inactive …
Also inactive Sunday was elevated practice squad quarterback Jake Browning, rookie offensive lineman D'Ante Smith, rookie defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin, rookie edge Cam Sample (hamstring), cornerback Jalen Davis (ankle) and running back Trayveon Williams …
Elevated practice squad cornerback John Brannon, with Davis out and cornerback Trae Waynes on the COVID list, makes his Bengals debut in his second NFL game.