Red Zone

Halftime observations: Bengals 14, Chiefs 12

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith scrambled away from pressure by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith scrambled away from pressure by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Here are some brief halftime observations from Paul Brown Stadium, where the Chiefs are facing the Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

▪ The Chiefs’ nickel run defense continues to struggle. They mixed in some more 3-3 fronts instead of their typical 2-4 fronts, but Gio Bernard’s first quarter score of 13 yards came against the latter. The Chiefs have yielded 61 yards in nine carries. That’s 6.8 yards per carry.

▪ The decision to move Ron Parker to nickel corner is an interesting one. This is where the loss of Phillip Gaines hurts more, because Parker has been the Chiefs’ best cover safety. Yet, the staff has decided he’s a better option than backup corners Marcus Cooper, Jamell Fleming or Steven Nelson.

▪ The Chiefs to find a way to contain A.J. Green. That is easier said than done, but he already has six catches for 78 yards.

▪ The Chiefs inserted Zach Fulton at right guard in an effort to improve their blocking up front. The starter in the first three games, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, has struggled to recognize and pick up some sunts and blitzes. Fulton has some physical limitations in space but he started all 16 games last year. Jeff Allen, a starter in 2013 at left guard, continues to watch from the sideline.

▪ With that said, quarterback Alex Smith continues to come under fire. He’s been sacked three times today. But he’s shown lots of poise, throwing downfield when possible and completing 16 of 19 passes for 190 yards.

▪ Also, kudos to Smith for getting the ball to Jeremy Maclin, who has seven catches for 97 yards.

▪ Running back Charcandrick West is getting some early work, which is interesting since 2013 third-round pick Knile Davis was essentially watching from the sideline. Davis was not listed on the injury report this week, and he did not record an offensive touch against the Packers on Sept. 28. West has carried the ball twice for 4 yards.

▪ Jamaal Charles is on pace to have a very nice day. The Bengals’ linebackers aren’t great in coverage, and Charles already has five catches for 57 yards. As a runner, he has seven carries for 56 yards.

Terez A. Paylor: 816-234-4489, @TerezPaylor. Tap here to download the new Red Zone Extra app for iOS and Android devices.