How stingy was the Bengals' defense in 2015? Check this out

CINCINNATI -- With the offseason now here for the Cincinnati Bengals, we're taking a daily look at a few statistics that either defined the past season or went overlooked during it.

Today, we highlight the following number:


All season, it was the one statistic Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther cared about looking up every week. By the end of the regular season, he made becoming No. 1 in the NFL in that statistical category his chief goal.

It almost happened.

The statistic? Points per game. He and his defenders weren't as concerned with their third-down conversion percentage, or what their numbers looked like in the red zone. All they cared about was keeping opponents out of the end zone and allowing as few field goals as possible.

Although the 2015 Bengals set a franchise record by allowing just 279 total points, and had the fifth-lowest points per game average in team history (17.4), there was one defense in the league that was even stingier. The Seattle Seahawks gave up 277 points en route to a league-best 17.3 points per game average. When it came to keeping opponents off the scoreboard, no defense was better than the Seahawks' and Bengals'.

The number above, 29, represents the number of touchdowns the Bengals' defense permitted. As you'd imagine, the Seahawks did them one better. Seattle gave up only 28 touchdowns. But which team ranked third in touchdowns allowed just behind the Bengals? Mike Zimmer's Minnesota Vikings, who surrendered just 31. Zimmer, as you'll recall, was Cincinnati's defensive coordinator before Guenther replaced him in 2014.

Although Seattle's defense may have allowed one fewer touchdown than the Bengals, Cincinnati won the head-to-head meeting with Seattle in overtime on a Mike Nugent field goal. Both teams scored three touchdowns in regulation, with one of Seattle's coming on defense.