Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase Return to MetLife Stadium in Week 3Ethan Greenberg Week 3 - Sep. 25, 2022 | Jets vs. BengalsMetLife Stadium | Buy TicketsState of the Team
The Bengals had a Cinderella run in the last postseason, representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. The AFC champions went from worst to first, finishing last in their division (4-11-1 in 2020) before becoming the AFC North champions (10-7) in 2021. They have a young nucleus of talented players that starts with third-year QB Joe Burrow, 25, and second-year WR Ja'Marr Chase, 22.
Chase finished No. 4 in the NFL with 1,455 yards as a rookie and No. 2 with 13 TDs. His 18-yard average also ranked second. Burrow's 108.3 passer rating was behind only Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (111.9), who was named MVP. RB Joe Mixon, 25, ranked No. 3 in the NFL with 1,205 rushing yards.
Cincinnati's defense finished No. 18 (350.8 yds/g) and was led by free-agent addition Trey Hendrickson, who had a career-high 14 sacks in 2021.
Biggest Offseason Addition
Right tackle La'el Collins (6-4, 315) puts the big in biggest offseason addition. Cincinnati gave up 55 sacks in 2021, the third-most in the NFL. The Bengals then signed C Ted Karras, G Alex Cappa and Collins before drafting North Dakota State OL Cordell Volson in the fourth round.
Collins' 80.2 offensive grade in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus, ranked No. 13 among tackles who played at least 50% of the snaps and his 89.7 run-block grade was third. He originally signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2015 out of LSU before playing in 74 (71 starts) out of a possible 97 games for Dallas. He was released in March.
The must-see matchup might be Chase and Tee Higgins against the Jets' new secondary with D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner, but the storylines of DE Carl Lawson and TE C.J. Uzomah facing their former team is right there, too.
Lawson's game against his former team was on last season's slate when the Jets took down the Bengals 34-31 on Halloween, but obviously he did not play as he ruptured his Achilles tendon in August. Cincinnati drafted Lawson in the fourth round in 2017 and had 20 sacks in four seasons before signing with the Jets in 2021.
Uzomah, who was Lawson's teammate at Auburn and Cincinnati, was a Bengals fifth-round pick in 2015. He had a career year in 2021 with 49 receptions, 828 yards and 5 TDs before joining the Green & White.
Inside the Numbers