The Cincinnati Bengals’ season hasn’t gotten off to the start that most of us expected it would.
Despite being a favorite in both games so far this season, the Bengals are 0-2.
Both losses came on walk-off field goals. Just absolutely brutal.
There seem to be plenty of fans freaking out that the defending AFC Champions are off to a less-than-ideal start.
But there’s no reason to freak out.
The Bengals are going to be fine.
Much of the blame for the Bengals’ slow start to the season has been placed on the offensive line.
And that’s fair.
Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow has already been sacked 13 times this season. Not all of those sacks are on the offensive line — some are because of how long Burrow holds the ball.
Most of the sacks, however, fall on the left side of the offensive line (Jonah Williams and Cordell Volson).
While that’s concerning, there also needs to be some perspective here.
Micah Parsons recorded a 54% pass rush win rate today, the highest by any player in Week 2 through the late afternoon window.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 19, 2022
He also had the highest pass rush win rate in Week 1.
(ESPN / Next Gen Stats)
Those two teams were able to drop extra defenders into coverage because their defensive line was able to generate pressure without needing to blitz as often. The Tampa 2 look that Dallas gave prevented Burrow from taking deep shots down the field.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow said the Cowboys played a lot of Tampa 2 defense that prevented big plays.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) September 19, 2022
Not every week is going to present the same challenge.
The New York Jets, the Bengals’ next opponent, had just one sack in their week two win against the Cleveland Browns. They likely won’t be able to drop defenders into coverage as Dallas did.
Cincinnati still obviously has to adjust their play calling against teams with great pass-rushing units.
But even without the adjustments that will inevitably be made throughout the season, the Bengals still nearly won two games where they played terribly at times.
Cincinnati should’ve beat Pittsburgh, but a missed extra point in regulation allowed the Steelers another chance.
And the Dallas game could’ve gone differently in the fourth quarter as well.
A loss is a loss. I get it. But it’s not like the Bengals got blown out in either loss. There are some things that need to be corrected, but this team isn’t that far away from where they ended the season last year.
Believe in Burrow. His success isn’t a fluke. He’ll right the ship. And the Bengals, who are just one game behind every other team in the AFC North, will show everyone that they’re not a one-hit-wonder.
Featured image via Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK