The last 3 or 4 NFL champs have rushed for less than 100 yards in the Super Bowl. That's a telling statistic to me. Even Pittsburgh has evolved. The run game still exists, but it's much more about Big Ben and those receivers nowadays.
2 years ago the Bengals got to the playoffs running the ball, playing good defense and sprinkling in the pass. Towards the end and especially in the playoff game Bratkowski stopped using the run to set up the pass and started to get pass happy (once he thought Carson was finally out of the danger zone with his shoulder). He inexplicably started trying to pass the ball around on the #1 passing defense in the league, yet whenever he gave the ball to Ced he ran wild on the Jets (169 yards IIRC on 21 carries). My opinion isn't that they got lucky that season, but that they took a sound approach as a team and wore out the opposition creating a situation where they were often the better team at the end of games. Pittsburgh has won despite the fact they pass the ball way too much IMO and as a matter of fact their owner came out after '09 and said they needed to get back to running the ball more which they did but it wasn't quite enough IMO.
One thing is true about offense always, turnovers hurt every squad on the team and the team overall itself. To keep turnovers low it is wise to be run heavy and/or run a short passing scheme which makes putting the ball up less risky.
I like Grudens philosophical approach to the game (according to the talks he has had with the press so far as a Bengal) and it should be just what we see here (run/pass 55/45 with a short passing game and a good play action long game). If we can't bring back Palmer, Kevin Kolb is now a very sound fit for this team. Sure he isn't Mike Vick but he with Benson in the backfield I think the offense can be quite effective. What we would then need is a premier defensive player of some kind, a difference maker like Clay Matthews at LB, Polamalu or Ed Reed at Safety or a monster on the line. Pretty good balance across the board should bring this team back to relevance quickly.
Bottom line is execution is the most important part of any game plan and a number of things play into that and IMO running it lends itself to better execution. Now granted in todays NFL you can't just run the ball 70 or 80% of the time because you need bigger chunks of yardage at times so some balance is required. But forcing the opposing defense to defend the run first and foremost and supplementing it with a short to intermediate controlled passing game, with the occasional long ball, preferably off of play action is ideal IMO. Coming out going intermediate to deep often and spotting that with a run game is a recipe for disaster IMO. Sure you'll have the occasional team make some noise with it but rarely does a team like that go deep into the playoffs.
I'd love to see the Bengals move to more of a short yardage passing game. Way too much of Brat's offense was high risk sideline stuff. I'd also love to never have to see another fade route to Chad in the end zone.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.