Simply put, score more points in the second half, dude.
Jay Gruden's offense with it's pedigree stretching back to Bill Walsh is now gone. In it's place Bill Lazor is customizing something new for Andy Dalton, built fresh from the ground up. Or so we are told. It will have bits a pieces of everything Lazor has seen. A little Air Coryell. A little West Coast. A little Joe Gibbs and a little Chip Kelly. Whatever it is and whatever you call it, there's a clear goal for improvement. Check out the chart below.
As bad as they were last season, they could have stayed "in the hunt" if only they had scored in the second half like they did in the first.* And they weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut in the first half. Note the difference in second half scoring in their seven wins versus their nine losses. Second half point production fell through the floor in those nine losses, especially in the four games where they lost by four points or less. This was presumably caused by the O-line wearing down throughout the game. (If you have a better explanation, then do tell.)
This was definitely not a league wide trend. The Bungs produced the worst proportional drop-off in second half scoring: 37%. Only two other teams scored four or more fewer points on average in the second half, and they were the highly prolific Rams and Patriots (approx. 29 points per game each). Think they might have protected any big leads in the second half?
This is MBS where we're typically as pessimistic as all get-out (and proud of it!) but this is cause for a certain amount of modest hope. Don't worry about recreating the 2015 offense. Just become a below-average scoring team in the second half.
For reference, here are Dalton's updated QB rating splits by quarter and a similar chart for yards rushing. Again, as we can see, everything went to Hell in the second half during 2017. But in the first half the stats were generally consistent with the five consecutive years of playoff appearances, 2011-2015. Yes, even the rushing yardage. Believe it or not.
If you do see any cause for optimism in these data, you should also see the implied indictment of team management. Letting the O-line fall off a cliff really did sabotage the entire season. Hey look, for nine games they couldn't score worth isht in the second half, but they were sort-of okay the rest of the time.
https://www.pro-football-reference.com/ ... n/2017.htm
* The scoring chart includes those three pick-sixes on defense. No matter how they actually scored, the pattern tells the tale.
The got a nickname
"The New Bengals" that should catapult them into the playoffs at the very least