The Cincinnati Bengals are in dire straits with Friday’s news that Joe Burrow is out of the season with a torn ligament. As they saw in the second half of their blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, there’s a big dropoff from Burrow to Jake Browning, their current backup quarterback.
With Burrow out, the Bengals will need a total team effort to save their season and get into the postseason — and quite frankly, they needed to be playing much better when Burrow was in the lineup.
The problem for the Bengals is they just might not be good enough to see their goals through this season. The offense being banged up is one thing, but right now, the defense is just flat-out bad.
The past two Bengals squads have gotten off to similar disappointing starts. In 2022, Cincinnati started 0-2 and fought its way all the way to the AFC title game, where it ended up falling short against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. It was a remarkable achievement, given the margins for error were so slim after dropping the first two games of the season.
That doesn’t feel possible for the 2023 Bengals, whose defense has fallen off a cliff. According to RBSDM.com, the 2022 Bengals ranked eighth in expected points allowed per play (minus-0.045) and seventh in success rate (42.2%). Pair that with a top-five offense and that team had what it takes to dig itself out of a hole and go on a run. This year’s Bengals defense ranks 22nd in expected points allowed per play (minus-0.001) and 30th in success rate (46.4%).
The Bengals’ defense has been leaning on youngsters like D.J. Turner (20) this season, and it’s shown. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) (Rob Carr via Getty Images)
They just don’t have the juice on that side of the ball right now. They lost Pro Bowler Jessie Bates III, Vonn Bell and Eli Apple to free agency from a strong secondary in 2022 and are still waiting for some of their recent draftees in the secondary to develop into consistently…
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Publish date : 1970-01-01 00:00:00
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