Bengals Down Two Key Offensive Linemen for Playoff Game vs. Bills Sunday
The Bengals will enter the divisional round looking to fill glaring holes along the offensive line after ruling out two starters ahead of Sunday’s game against the Bills.
Cincinnati announced Friday left tackle Jonah Williams and right guard Alex Cappa will not play in the contest, leaving quarterback Joe Burrow without two key protectors entering the anticipated contest. Neither offensive lineman took the field for practice this week, with Williams out after dislocating his kneecap during the Bengals’s wild-card win over the Ravens last Sunday and Cappa missing a second week of sessions with an ankle injury he suffered in a Week 18 win against Baltimore.
Williams, the 11th pick in the 2019 draft, played on 100% of the snaps in all but one game during the regular season (90% in Week 5) and appeared on 52% of the snaps before going down with his injury in the Bengals’ playoff opener. Meanwhile, Cappa had just two weeks where he played less than 100% of the snaps, playing on 91% of the snaps in Week 9 and 79% in Week 18.
Losing Williams and Cappa will mark an additional challenge for offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to scheme around as the Bengals also continue to deal with the loss of another starting lineman in La’el Collins. The veteran right tackle tore his ACL and MCL in the first half of a Week 16 over the Patriots on Dec. 24, forcing the Bengals to turn to Hakeem Adeniji as his replacement
With Williams and Cappa officially out for Sunday, Cincinnati will again have to rely on Jackson Carman and Max Scharping to fill their respective roles. Carman filled in for Williams last week while Scharping started for Cappa each of the past two weeks.
Protecting Burrow, one of the NFL’s most sacked QBs since his 2020 debut, has continuously been a key charge for Cincinnati so it’ll be interesting to see if the injuries impact the game plan against a formidable Bills pass rush. Cincy’s O-line allowed 41 sacks, the sixth-most in the league, during the season, and four sacks in last week’s victory against Baltimore.
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