Bengals’ keys to victory: Avoid Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram
The Bengals’ offensive line facing off against the Chargers’ defensive line is easily the biggest mismatch heading into the game on Sunday. Jonah Williams will make his NFL debut at left tackle with Bobby Hart at right tackle as the two face off against star players in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
With a rookie quarterback playing in his first NFL game in Joe Burrow, this could be a recipe for disaster. While Burrow displayed a knack for escaping pressure in college, the pros are a whole new beast that will prove much more challenging.
If the dangerous duo of edge rushers have a big day, the 23-year-old quarterback could be in over his head in week one. For Burrow to have a strong game against the Chargers, head coach Zac Taylor will have to plan the game around Bosa and Ingram.
To avoid the star edge rushers, the Bengals should make sure to pass the ball quickly instead of letting Burrow hold onto the ball. In 2019, Andy Dalton was only pressured on 29% of his passes for the Bengals, which was the 4th lowest rate in the league. Coincidentally, Burrow was pressured on the exact same rate of passes in his Heisman season.
While this may look like an endorsement of the Bengals’ offensive line, it is not. Dalton may have been pressured at a low rate, but he actually got the ball out of his hand faster than most quarterbacks. This was an intentional attempt to mask the Bengals’ poor offensive line play. The defensive line can’t pressure your quarterback if the pass is out before they get there.
In order for Burrow to stay standing and keep away from Bosa and Ingram, he will need to get the ball out fast. Short quick passes will be the key to keeping Burrow safe from pressure.
Williams and Hart will almost surely lose their matchups against Bosa and Ingram, but the Bengals already know that. If they can mask this weakness with their gameplan, their offense could still succeed.