The stat isn’t 3.9 ypc...the stat is that Cinci, the worst run team in the league, rushed for almost 1 full yard more than their average.
A good running team may be able to get close to 5 ypc.
Hopefully the new additions will make a difference while Pierce is out.
I think you're right, the stats don't tell the whole story. But to me, and why I wrote this artcile, the tape does. The Ravens were weak on the edges especially in six man fronts. That won't win in the NFL, even against inferior running teams, and even with Pierce. It would have made no demonstrable difference, IMO.
I do think it matters that the Bengals ran 21% of their total rushes for the season in this one game. And despite rushing regularly into fronts that were to their advantage they still only got 3.9 YPC. But you point out, and I think correctly, their personnel isn't great. I tend to lean to JamesDean position that the overall YPC matters. You also leave out that 3.9 was still well below the Ravens 4.5 coming into the game. So there is some room to argue that while the Bengals were better than usual, so were the Ravens and it could very well be moot.
But we'll see when the Niners come to town. I think the game plan is very different and that we will regularly use 3 man DL fronts in that game. And I think that'll be a big improvement. Judon/Ferguson was much better on the edge when he a DL in the B gap.
Houston gets 5 on the ground. So we'll see this week what they do schematically against a better rushing team.