The Cincinnati Bengals held the San Francisco 49ers to just 55 yards rushing, which belies how poorly their defense actually played against the run. Shaun Draughn injured his knee early in the game after nine carries for 36 yards in just over one quarter of work.
Once he left, the Bengals scored three consecutive touchdowns on short fields and Blaine Gabbert was forced to throw the ball 50 times compared to just a handful of rushing attempts. That will never be a recipe for success.
That isn't the only reason we should expect a big game from Denver Broncos running backs C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman on Monday Night Football. They also gave up two rushing touchdowns to Deangelo Williams two weeks prior.
Overall, the Bengals defense has been fairly consistent on the year. I'm not trying to say otherwise, but it certainly looked like it was going to be a long day for Cincinnati before Draughn was knocked out early in the second quarter.
The 49ers started that game knocking the Bengals defense completely on their heels with three consecutive runs for solid gains. The first was an incredible individual effort by Draughn and probably should have been stopped for loss.
However, the running lane was wide open on the next play.
On the third play, Draughn ran the kind of classic sweep that we have seen Hillman take the distance before.
That drive would ultimately stall, but the 49ers offensive line was just getting warmed up. At this point of the game, with McCarron struggling to get anything going on offense it certainly looked like the inferior team was setting itself up for an upset.
Draughn was finding the running lanes and the 49ers were winning the battle for field position.
The 49ers offensive line were blocking very well, but this would be Draughn's last good run of the day before injuring his knee.
From there, the 49ers would give the ball to the Bengals at their own 11 yard line, 36 yard line and 20 yard line on three successive drives - all producing touchdowns for Cincinnati. The run game, that had been so successful early on was completely abandoned.
For the Broncos to be successful, I think they are going to need to rely heavily on Anderson. It feels like this is his game to return to form. Hillman should get 10-12 carries too, but I'd really like to see Anderson carry the load with Brock Osweiler attempting around 25 passes.
If they can do that, then this is the kind of game that could get away from the Bengals. They have a slew of injuries at key positions with both Andy Dalton and Tyler Eifert out and as we all know, injuries at key positions can cost you games against quality opponents.