Out of tricks, here comes the pain
Nobody can deny that the Bengals’ offensive line has played far better than expected so far in the playoffs. But as far as they’ve gotten, and as successful as they’ve been, I’m not exactly certain that they have any idea what they are about to face when they take on the LA Rams defensive front.
Referring back to that PFF offensive line rankings? The LA Rams had to get past the second-ranked Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive line, the third-ranked San Francisco 49ers offensive line, and the 15th-ranked Arizona Cardinals offensive line. Cincy’s offensive line? 20th-ranked. But their weakest players? Why they are protecting the A Gaps.
The LA Rams and fans know all-too-well just how devastating pressure can be from the A Gaps. Because it is the shortest route to the quarterback, it can get to him before he can set and begin reading his progressions. But it will also speed up the tempo of the passing game overall, eliminating the deeper routes due to a lack of time.
Fresh and Furious II
Now, toss a healthy and fresh nose tackle who spent significant time in the offseason developing pass-rushing skills, and you’ve got the makings of a very painful outing for quarterback Joe Burrow. Even if SJD is not the guy who wraps up Burrow for the sack, he will at least be a very disruptive force to the timing of the Bengals passing game.
Well, the Bengals simply need to run the ball then, right? You may think so, but that’s when the return of Sebastian Joseph Day really pays off. Just like A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines, he is incredibly stingy against the run. And he’s coming back with a fresh set of legs and a whole lot of rest.
Look for big things by the LA Rams kid from Stroudsburg, PA. He is coming back as the right player in the right place at the right time.