You know why the NFL scheduling system stinks? The last time the Bengals and Rams played each other, Jeff Fisher was the Rams’ head coach, Nick Foles was their quarterback, and Andrew Whitworth was the the Bengals’ left tackle.
Ouch. Too far?
When these two teams last met in November of 2015, Zac Taylor was about to start calling plays for the Miami Dolphins’ offense. So much has changed for both franchises since then. One of them even moved cities for crying out loud.
The Rams, now of Los Angeles, have been trending upwards since that time with the help of Fisher’s eventual replacement Sean McVay, who became an instant success when he was hired in 2017. Things haven’t been as easy for the now 33-year old Dayton, Ohio native this year. The Rams are a game over .500 this season, but their offense has notably regressed, continuing a pattern that we witnessed towards the end of last season and in the Super Bowl; when they scored just three points against the Patriots.
If McVay’s offense has taken a slight downturn, that helps explain why Taylor’s version of the offense is, comparably, a pile of trash. As a former assistant for McVay, Taylor was hired by the Bengals to bring that style of offense to Cincinnati, which has proven to be easier said than done. The multitude of injuries Taylor has had to deal with hasn’t helped, but it’s Week 8, and no one cares how beaten up you are.
The reunion between McVay and Taylor isn’t the only one worth mentioning. This will be the first and likely last time Whitworth will face his old team on the football field. Whitworth has been with the Rams since 2017 and has been a major component to McVay’s rebuild in the City of Angels. The 37-year old left tackle is starting to show signs of slowing down, but he’s more than lived up to the three-year contract the Bengals failed to match two years ago. Plus, you know he’s going to pump a little extra gas in the tank for this game.
It’s all set up to be a homecoming for both Taylor and Whitworth, even though the game won’t be played in Cincinnati or Los Angeles. For everything about the Bengals and Rams playing in London, this stream will have it all.