The Bengals have explained the sacks as having “different stories” behind them. Burrow just wants to make plays, which sometimes means holding onto the ball longer than he would otherwise.
“Sacks are something that you know a lot of different people talk about, but there’s certain situations where you’re fine taking a sack, like on third down when you’re not in field goal position and you’re going to try to make a play and try to create the first down, you might take a sack that you might not normally have taken on first and second down,” Burrow said. “And other situations you’re leading by a lot you don’t want to force a throw and you don’t want to go out and run and risk a fumble so you got to take a sack sometimes. I’m not too worried about the sack stat. You know it is what it is, but there’s a lot of different things that go into that.”
The Bengals have been missing right tackle Riley Reiff since he injured his ankle in Week 12 and tried to return but re-aggravated it. Reiff was placed on the Reserve/Injured list last month and is expected to be out for the year. Isaiah Prince has stepped in as his replacement, playing alongside Hakeem Adeniji at right guard.
Left guard Quinton Spain also is working back from an ankle injury but was a full participant in practice Tuesday, which seems to be a good sign.
Williams said he thought the offensive line did some good things against the Raiders last time, most notably in the run game, but with edge rushers like Maxx Crosby (8.0 sacks) and Yannick Ngakoue (10.0 sacks) and defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson (4.5 sacks), the line needs to hold up better in pass protection.
“They’ve got a lot of good players up front, and again, they can call some pressure that can get home as well,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “You’re not just focused on one guy. That’s probably what they like about their defense. You’ve got Yannick on the other side (from Crosby). They’ve got really good interior guys. They’ve got Clelin Ferrell, first-round pick, who’s back there, Carl Nassib. So they got a lot of guys that can come off the edge as well and contribute from a back-up role, even. And then those guys up front can get you pressure, too. It’s just a really good front. And the guys behind them play really well as well.”
The Bengals defense got two takeaways in the final five minutes of the Week 11 win at Las Vegas, and with the Raiders among the teams in the league with the most turnovers (24), that again will be a focus Saturday.
Cincinnati sits right in the middle of the pack in the takeaways category with 21.
“It’s a discussion we have every week, a meeting … about the ball,” free safety Jessie Bates said. “It’s not just about the Raiders, it’s about everyone else around the league, how other teams got the ball off the Raiders. It’s a discussion, every team is talking about it because you win the turnover battle in the playoffs, you’re more likely to win the game.”