The Cincinnati Bengals lost another close game in Week 2 to the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys took advantage of questionable play calling from Zac Taylor and a porous Bengals offensive line. Cooper Rush started in place of an injured Dak Prescott and was solid in his second NFL start. He finished the day 19 for 31 with 235 yards passing and one touchdown with no interceptions. He drove Dallas right down the field on an impressive opening drive that was capped off by a nine-yard touchdown pass to Noah Brown. As for the Bengals, they were a mess offensively for the second consecutive week. Joe Burrow was once again under duress for the entire game and was sacked six times to bring his total to an absurd 13 sacks through two games. The Bengals offense was sluggish the entire first half, couldn’t sustain drives, and only mustered three points. These factors proved too much to overcome despite a furious comeback to tie the game with 3:45 left in regulation. Cincinnati is now in a daunting 0-2 hole to start the season and faces a must-win game in Week 3 against the New York Jets.
Cincinnati Bengals Offensive Line Woes Continue Against Dallas Cowboys
The Bengals revamped their entire offensive line in the offseason in hopes of better protecting Burrow and buying him more time to distribute the ball to his playmakers. This plan has been an abject failure through two weeks of the NFL season. Ironically, rookie Cordell Volson has been great at left guard along with newcomers, Alex Kappa and Ted Karras. The real disappointment has been in tackles, Jonah Williams and La’el Collins. These two seem to get abused frequently and communication issues have been a big problem, specifically for Collins. The hits and sacks are piling up and it’s starting to really affect Burrow’s internal clock. He’s bailing when he does have a clean pocket and his eyes aren’t being kept downfield. Burrow’s patience has to be wearing thin and the team has to do a better job all around to protect the franchise quarterback.
Even though the offensive line has issues, Burrow isn’t blameless in regards to the hits and sacks. Burrow does hold the ball too long at times in always trying to make a play. This is the essence of Burrow and what has made him special in his young career. What he has to quickly learn is that it’s acceptable to throw the ball away and live another day. When you are seeing the field well and the blocking is sufficient, holding the ball for a fraction of a second longer often leads to big plays. This certainly hasn’t been the case thus far in 2022. The Bengals need to quickly make offensive adjustments if they want to save their season.
Fix It Fast
The silver lining for the Bengals is they have 15 more games to right the ship and still win the AFC North. This retooled offensive line with Burrow at the helm needs to play more cohesively and get off to quicker starts. In a copycat league, teams will continue to play defensive styles that limit big plays over the top. Burrow needs to get in a comfortable rhythm against the Jets and get his swagger back. He is the captain of the ship and it’s not sinking on his watch.