Last year, it was Mike White who haunted the Bengals in a 34-31 comeback victory for the Jets, dinking and dunking his way down the field to erase a 14-point deficit as part of a 405-yard passing performance. The Bengals are expecting Flacco to take whatever their defense gives him, but defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo said if it were him, he would be relying on short passes to the running backs because “those guys are good.”
Although Flacco has struggled at times with turnovers, he reads the game well, Anarumo said.
Cincinnati has yet to record an interception this season and are one of eight teams without a pick, despite several close chances. Vonn Bell forced the lone turnover with a strip of Dalton Schultz last week in a loss at Dallas, which D.J. Reader recovered.
Producing those game-changing plays remains a focus for the defense this week, as the Bengals try to get back to the ball-hawking defense that produced eight interceptions in four playoff games last year. They’ve done just about everything else to dig a slow-starting offense out of a hole, but Anarumo said the turnovers will come.
He said he counted four missed opportunities last week, including a tipped pass by Logan Wilson that somehow was redirected to Noah Brown on the Cowboys’ game-winning field goal drive. Another ball bounced off Sam Hubbard’s hands, Jessie Bates had one slip through his hands and Mike Hilton dropped an interception that he felt would have been a pick-6 just before halftime.
“The ball hasn’t bounced our way,” Anarumo said. “He’s (Cooper Rush) throwing the ball on the last drive, he’s throwing into where we are doubling and the ball gets batted to the other receiver. That’s football. The ball is going to bounce your way sometimes. Sometimes it is not. We just have to stick with it and this will be our biggest challenge to date. I’m quite sure we will be up to it.”
“It’s just being patient,” Bell said. “Nobody needs to get out of the frame of the defense, we just need to be poised and patient, let the game come to you, get your keys, go out there and just play fast, and turnovers will come.”
Bengals at Jets, 1 p.m., Ch. 7, 12; 1530, 102.7, 104.7