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Are Bengals facing Todd Gurley at the perfect time?

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After falling short in a shootout to the Cardinals, the Bengals -- coming off two straight losses -- face a far less dynamic attack on Sunday in the form of the Rams.

St. Louis has slumped hard under the direction of new play-caller Frank Cignetti, Jr., sitting 31st league-wide in points and yardage per game and dead last both in passing yards and third-down percentage.

Still, the Rams can't be counted out with running back Todd Gurley on the loose. The tackle-breaking, home-run hitter is a strong candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year -- and Cincinnati's primary focus heading into Week 12.

"He's good -- explosive, strong young guy, runs through tackles, runs hard, keeps his legs working," said Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, per The Cincinnati Enquirer. "He's going to be a good one. He's a good player."

Said coach Marvin Lewis: "You have to stay disciplined to what they are doing. We're going to be challenged that way, and we're going to have to tackle this guy (Gurley). He's explosive, he has speed, has the ability to cut, and he's strong. When you look at him, he's a handful. We have to do a great job."

Teams have overtly stacked the box against Gurley and challenged the Rams to move the ball through the air with Case Keenum, the ineffectual passer who replaced the equally floundering Nick Foles. The extra attention on the ground game is a primary reason Gurley has been kept under 100 yards in three straight, but Guenther promised to mix it up.

"Some teams are putting eight guys up in there. In my opinion you have to mix it up some," Guenther said. "They do things to test the linebackers with all the fake reverses and all that stuff. It's a little bit different of an offensive setup so we have to do things with a lot more run volume than we've seen."

The Bengals are facing Gurley at the perfect time. The Rams have never been more vanilla, while Guenther's defense -- after giving up 100 yards rushing in four straight -- has held opponents to 77.7 yards per game over the past three weeks. That type of result against St. Louis would all but guarantee another Bengals win.

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