Safeties Gibril Wilson (knee), Jeromy Miles (groin) and Chris Crocker (birth of his daughter) all missed at least one practice this week; all listed as probable and expected to suit up against the Buffalo Bills. Through three games this year, the secondary still hasn't posted an interception and Bengals safety Chris Crocker wants one.
"We've gotten a lot of turnovers, fumbles, a lot of sacks, but we haven't taken the ball out of the air. That's one of our big things."
However forcing turnovers hasn't been that big of an issue. The Bengals have forced six fumbles this year (t-8th), recovering three (t-5th) and as a team they've forced a turnover in each of their three games this season. Additionally during their win over Cleveland and their loss to the Broncos, the offense didn't turnover the football. Yet the offense did post two interceptions and a lost fumble against the San Francisco 49ers in a game that largely showed the youth at this team's skill positions. Even so they still have a +1 turnover differential on the season.
Michael Johnson has been responsible for two of those turnovers; an interception against the Browns and a forced fumble against the Broncos. Three fumbles and an interception has led to six offensive points through three games this year.
This offense is currently facing two major aspects on the team that they need to improve; third down conversions and scoring touchdowns in the red zone. However against a high-scoring offense like the Buffalo Bills, the offense will need to force turnovers to limit the Bills' opportunities.
Buffalo has forced nine turnovers, six of them interceptions (four off eventual hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady). Offensively the Bills have lost possession four times off turnovers, all four being Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions.
We've said (and believed) all week that this game, like any other in the NFL, is winnable. But the Bengals offense will have to grow up big time responding to Bills possessions, capitalizing on turnovers, sustaining drives by converting third downs and scoring touchdowns in the red zone. Not that we're asking much here.