Bengals pressured QBs well in 2015, but did so without the blitz

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:


If you followed the Bengals all season (and even watched them in 2014, too), then seeing the above headline comes as no surprise. For you know, that under defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, the Bengals rely on pressuring opposing quarterbacks by primarily sending their front four linemen into the backfield.

When they blitz, it typically means the Bengals believe they have a good opportunity to rattle the quarterback and force a sack or turnover, because they believe the blitz will reach its intended target.

In quantifying the Bengals' success getting to the quarterback with largely standard pass rushes, we highlight the number 19.2. Specifically, that's the percentage of blitzes the Bengals had in 2015 per opposing quarterback dropback. So according to ESPN Stats & Information, 19.2 percent of the time a quarterback received a snap to run or throw the ball, Cincinnati had a fifth pass-rusher accompanying its standard four-lineman rush.

That 19.2 was the second-lowest blitz-per-dropback percentage in the NFL this past regular season. Only New England's 19.0 was lower.

Still, a look at Cincinnati's 28.9 overall quarterback pressure percentage was a sign the non-blitzing Bengals continued getting to opposing signal-callers and causing havoc. The Bengals ranked eighth in the league in quarterback pressure percentage.

If that particular statistic doesn't resonate with you, consider this. Keeping in mind their penchant for only rushing their defensive linemen, it's worth noting the Bengals had 42 sacks this past regular season, the ninth-highest total in the league. That came one year after they had just 20, setting a franchise record for the fewest in a season. Those 20 also were the least number of sacks a team had in 2014.

As for all the sacks they had in 2015, nearly 90 percent of them (37.5 sacks total) came from defensive linemen. Pro Bowlers defensive end Carlos Dunlap (official franchise record 13.5) and defensive tackle Geno Atkins (11.0) paced the Bengals' linemen in sacks.