The Cincinnati-Seattle football game at Paul Brown Stadium features the Bengals' second-ranked offense (422 yards per game) against the Seahawks' second-ranked defense (278.8).
Cincinnati is tied for seventh in rushing yards per game (128). Seattle is tied for seventh in rush defense (88.5).
The Bengals rank fourth in pass offense (294.0). The Seahawks rank fifth in pass defense (190.3).
Cincinnati is the only NFL offense with top 10 rankings in both rushing and passing. The Seahawks are one of just two NFC teams, along with the Redskins, with top 10 rankings in rush defense and pass defense.
The Bengals are the only NFL team not to allow a rushing touchdown this season. The Seahawks are one of three teams yet to score one. Jacksonville and Miami also have not rushed for a touchdown.
It has been 17 years since the Bengals have seen a two-time defending NFL conference champion on their schedule. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl two years ago and almost won it last year.
They are the first two-time defending conference champ to face Cincinnati since the 1998 Green Bay Packers, and they are a fitting foe for a Bengals team looking to keep the accomplishments building after a 4-0 start.
The Seahawks, though only 2-2 this season, have recently done what the 2015 Bengals aim to do.
“Our team started this year with a special intent to be great,” Bengals offensive tackle and team captain Andrew Whitworth said after last week’s 36-21 home win over Kansas City. “We’re not satisfied just being good any more. The challenge for us every week is to keep finding ways to rise above just being good.”
The Bengals defeated Kansas City last week with a relatively low level of drama, leading from the early first quarter. They have posted the fourth 4-0 start in franchise history and the first since 2005. In the AFC, only Denver is also 4-0, but New England is at 3-0 after having its bye last week.
“I’ve never been on a 4-0 team,” said ninth-year veteran cornerback Adam Jones, who joined the Bengals in 2010. “It feels real special. I’ll take it. But everybody knows this team is working with a sense of urgency to get great things accomplished. We’re not there yet by a long, long way.”
Kansas City gained 461 yards on Cincinnati, but the Chiefs didn’t get a touchdown, instead settling for seven field goals by Cairo Santos. That was a Cincinnati opponent record, but one the Bengals were happy to surrender. Cincinnati scored five touchdowns, including TDs on all four of the offense’s red-zone chances.
The Chiefs game marked a first in Bengals history, one which points to the offensive versatility of this team. It’s the only game in 746 regular and postseason contests in which the Bengals have compiled at least 300 net passing yards (321) and four rushing touchdowns.
The Bengals are ranked No. 2 in the NFL in net offense (422.0) for the second straight week. The defense, in addition to its stout performance in the red zone, got the game’s only takeaway, and teams with even a plus-one in takeaways historically win 70 percent of the time.
“Keep getting better. Keep getting better,” Lewis chanted to his players in the postgame locker room. “We’re on a journey, men, and we’ve got to keep stepping forward. This is no time to take a break or feel a sense of relief. Come back strong this week and put the hammer down. We are just getting started.”
How do the Bengals avoid the trap of feeling too good about 4-0? “Don’t take the cheese,” said defensive end Michael Johnson, whose Kansas City performance included a sack and two additional quarterback hits. “Don’t listen to the noise of people telling you you’re great. Keep everything tight inside this locker room, just among ourselves.”