Rovell: A Quarterback is Only As Good As His Offensive Line
Picture by Getty Images. Edited by Matt Roembke.
A quarterback is only as good as his offensive line.
We saw it last week with Tom Brady against the Cowboys. Brady simply had no time with the Cowboys’ elite pass rush.
And the Bills’ pass rush is, indeed, elite — even without Von Miller.
The Bills have actually performed better in pass defense after Miller was declared out for the year, a testament to their defensive line depth and a highlight of Gregory Rousseau’s emergence as one of the NFL’s best pass rushers.
That spells trouble for the Bengals’ offensive line, which is in a world of hurt.
Gone is right tackle La’el Collins, who tore his ACL. Collins wasn’t all that fantastic at tackle this season, but his replacement Hakeem Adeniji is worse.
Right guard Alex Cappa injured his ankle two weeks ago and left tackle Jonah Williams left Sunday night’s game against the Ravens with a dislocated knee cap. Both could come back — doubtful — but even then, will they be any good?
Williams’ replacement Jackson Carman looked hapless during the back-half of Ravens vs. Bengals, when Baltimore forced Burrow into quick, decisive passes to offset a major deficiency on the left side of Cincinnati’s offensive line.
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Burrow had an average of 2.54 seconds to throw the ball against Baltimore, with only a 6.3-yard average depth of target and zero big-time throws.
The former No. 1 pick is used to these circumstances, of course.
Burrow has had a league-low average of 2.2 seconds to throw this season, tied with Tom Brady and Mac Jones for the worst mark in the NFL, according to FantasyPros.
But against a Bills defense whose biggest Achilles heel is the deep ball, it’ll be almost impossible to develop a big play with a worse-than-usual offensive line.
Buffalo will force Burrow to check down more often than he’d like, where the Bills’ elite yards-after-contact defense will corral those underneath throws with ease.
And if the Bengals try to turn to the run game? Good luck: The Bills boast the third-best run defense in the NFL, only behind the 49ers out of teams remaining in the postseason.
On the flip side of the ball, the best quarterback this season — Josh Allen, according to PFF — may not shore up all his mistakes.
He might throw a few ducks on Sunday. But elite talent is elite talent. Especially with snow in the forecast, expect Allen’s rushing abilities — and far better offensive line — to be a major value add over Burrow.
Lake-effect wind. A raucous home crowd. Damar Hamlin firing everyone up pregame. A better offense, defense, special teams, offensive line and coach.
The Bills at -4 was amazing. But as long as we get the key number of -6, I’m good with it.
Take the Bills -5.5 (-110) at BetMGM.