Bengals cool with cold weather

Bengals cool with cold weather
December 4, 2013, 11:45 pm
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(Stan Liu/ USA TODAY Sports)

That chill in the air, the biting wind, swirling snow. Marvin Lewis has a name for it. He calls it “Bengal weather.”

"That's part of us. That's part of our toughness," the Cincinnati coach said (via ESPN.com). "It's just the way we're put together."

That weather may be sweeping in for Sunday’s game against the Colts. Temperatures are expected to peak in the mid-30s, and there’s a good chance of snow. It’s not optimal for Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck-led passing attack. But that fits a ground-based attack, something the Bengals geared up last Sunday, even though they played in balmy San Diego.

Cincinnati ran on 38 of its 61 offensive plays, totaling 164 yards in a 17-10 win.

"We figured the last four games, we have an opportunity for four bad-weather games," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said. "So establishing some kind of running game is going to be important to keep the clock moving, keep our defense off the field and try to get something."

The Bengals haven’t really established that running game. They rank 18th in the NFL in rushing offense at about 113 yards a game. That’s barely better than the Colts, 20th with about 109. However, the Colts rank among the league’s worst in stopping the run, at No. 28, yielding nearly 129 yards a game. The Bengals are eighth against the run, averaging 101 yards allowed.

In Bengal weather, look for a lot of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard on Sunday. Green-Ellis had his most productive game of the season against the Chargers, rushing 20 times for 92 yards.

Since throwing 50-plus passes in back-to-back losses to the Dolphins and Ravens in games 9 and 10, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has pulled the trigger much less in Cincinnati’s past two games, both wins — throwing 27 times against the Browns and 23 times against the Chargers.

It’s all part of Bengal weather.