The Cincinnati Bengals had no excuse to ignore the poor performance their offensive line gave during the 2021 season and playoffs. Joe Burrow was sacked nine times in the AFC Divisional Round and seven times in the Super Bowl and it cost the franchise its first Lombardi Trophy.
That's why in the offseason, the front office went to work to ensure that the offensive line would not be the reason the team lost a big game again. They signed Ted Karras to replace Trey Hopkins at center, Alex Cappa to replace Hakeem Adeniji at right guard, and La'el Collins to replace Riley Reiff at right tackle. They also drafted Cordell Volson in the fourth round but the expectation wasn't really for him to start at left guard over Jackson Carman, that sort of played out on its own.
With four new faces on the starting o-line and Jonah Williams returning to play left tackle, the Bengals knew it'd take some time for this unit to gel and boy did it ever.
In the first two games, Joe Burrow was sacked a combined 13 times and was on pace to be taken to the ground 100 times. We all knew that wasn't going to happen and that it was going to take some time for this unit to get used to working together.
Bengals offensive line has turned the corner
When the Bengals got embarrassed on Halloween by the Browns, Burrow was sacked five times and people were rightfully frustrated with the o-line for not doing their part.
Since that game, however, the team has been red-hot, winning five straight games, and the offensive line has played a major part in that. During that five-game win streak, the offensive line has only allowed two or fewer sacks on Joe Burrow in each game. He was sacked twice in the win over Pittsburgh but otherwise, opponents have only taken him to the turf once during that span.
Fans knew that once the Bengals upgraded the offensive line, Burrow would be able to do what he does best. He'd have time to sit back in the pocket and make those crazy throws. It was what stood in the way between the Bengals winning a title and this time, if the Bengals make it to the Super Bowl, their offensive line won't be the one to blame if things go awry.
Let's hope this dominance continues as the games get tougher down the stretch.