The story of the Cincinnati Bengals’ upcoming playoff game in Buffalo starts and ends with how they perform with a backup-centric offensive line against the Bills’ pass rush.
However, that storyline has been so loud that NFL fans and media are losing sight of one key thing.
The Bengals defensive line should be able to pressure Josh Allen as well. And when they do, the Bills will be in trouble.
The Bills have a flawed offensive line that has caused their passing game trouble throughout the season. The effect has been felt in their rushing offense too, as at times they’ve struggled to close out games via the ground. To be fair, they’ve improved in that area lately.
But the problem for defenses trying to stop the Bills’ attack is that Allen thrives extending plays and producing miracle plays out of pure chaos.
However, Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s defense is a tough one to beat if you’re under pressure. There’s no other unit quite like it in those situations, in fact.
Consider the numbers outlined by NFL Network’s analytics expert Cynthia Frelund in a recent article. They show the Bengals make life on opposing quarterbacks the toughest:
“One note for this Sunday’s Divisional Round showdown: When the Bengals were able to get pressure this season, they ranked first in passer rating allowed (36.2) in the regular season, completion percentage allowed (39.9) and TD-to-INT ratio allowed (0:7). They were the only team to allow zero touchdowns when able to get pressure, all per Next Gen Stats.”
Perhaps that has to do with what Anarumo’s defensive backs do in the backend as quarterbacks scramble.
The Bengals are a team that does a good job of mixing coverages and confusing opponents while keeping things simple for their players.
The Bills OL is also not very good. pic.twitter.com/62Wt3O36Fl— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) January 19, 2023
As long as the Bengals pressure Josh Allen, they have a shot at keeping this game low-scoring and within reach even if their own offensive line struggles with three backup linemen.
Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK