The Bengals’ o-line has only looked worse since Joe Burrow went down. Last week, they didn’t allow a sack when Brandon Allen was in, but that was against the Dallas Cowboys, who have been comically bad on defense this year, allowing the most points per game prior to giving up only seven against Cincinnati.
If Allen can’t go this Monday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, that means they’ll probably start Ryan Finley, who apparently thinks of sacks as warm hugs from a loved one, because the man simply loves to get tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Finley stepped in from Allen against the Cowboys and immediately proceeded to get sacked twice... on only four dropbacks. For the year, he’s been sacked seven times and has only ten completions for 75 yards. In other words, it’s almost as likely that he gets sacked as it is that he completes a pass.
Now just imagine him taking starter snaps against the vaunted Steelers’ d-line.
The Steelers have 45 sacks on the year. Only four of those came against the Bengals in the two teams’ first matchup in Week 10. But that was back when Joe Burrow was still the quarterback. In fact, it was the last game he finished before getting injured against the Washington Football Team the next game.
To gather how much of a mismatch the Steelers were, you can look to the games before and after. Against the Tennessee Titans, Burrow was not sacked, a result of both the Titans’ weak d-line and the fact that the rookie sensation was adapting to playing with a flawed line. He was also not sacked against Washington, even though they have an excellent defensive line and he attempted 34 passes. Finley, who came in for Burrow, was sacked four times on only 14 dropbacks.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. With the Bengals an absolute mess on offense, the o-line coming apart at the seams, and the running game confused and butterfingered, it is entirely possible that the Steelers get double digit sacks on Monday.
The record for most team sacks in a game is 12, which was achieved by four teams, most recently by the Cowboys in 1985. The Steelers are angry about losing two straight, and they’re always angry at the Bengals. They will likely wreak havoc on that o-line and Finley (if Allen can’t go). And they may just put the Bengals on the wrong side of history in the process.
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