Thu, 26 May 2022

Jim Wyatt

NASHVILLE - The Titans face the Bengals in the Divisional Round of the playoffs on Saturday at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a quick look at the Bengals.

Record: 11-7 (won the AFC North).

Last week: Beat the Raiders 26-19 in the Wild Card round.

Points for/against: 27.1/22.1.

Streaks: Bengals have won 3 of past 4.

Playoff record: 6-14.

Championships: 0.

Vs. Common Opponents: 4-2 (1-0 Jax, 1-0 KC, 0-1 NYJ, 2-0 Pitt, 0-1 SF).

NFL RANKINGS

Offense: 13th overall, 361.5 ypg (23rd rushing, 7th passing).

Defense: 18th overall, 350.8 ypg (5th rushing, 26th passing).

TEAM LEADERS

Head coach: Zac Taylor.

Offense:

QB: Joe Burrow (366-of-520, 4,611 yards, 34 TDs, 14 INTs, 108.3 rating).

Top RB: Joe Mixon (292 rush, 1,205 yards, 4.1 ypc, 13 TDs).

Top WRs: Ja'Marr Chase (81 catches, 1,455 yards, 13 TDs), Tee Higgins (74 catches, 1,091 yards, 6 TD), Tyler Boyd (67 catches, 828 yards, 5 TDs).

Top TE: C.J. Uzomah (49 catches, 493 yards, 5 TDs).

Defense:

Sacks: DE Trey Hendrickson (8).

Leading tackler: LB Logan Wilson (98).

Interceptions: LB Logan Wilson (4).

Take/Give: 0 (21/21).

Kicker: Evan McPherson (28-of-33 FGs, 46-of-48 PATs).

Punter: Kevin Huber (46.4, 41.0).

PR: Trenton Irwin (9.8).

KR: Chris Evans (29.0).

Last meeting: November 1, 2020: Bengals 31, Titans 20.

Of note:

-The Bengals clinched AFC North for 1st time since 2015. They're aiming for their 1st AFC Conference Championship Game appearance since 1988.

-The Bengals had 3 players selected to 2022 Pro Bowl: WR Ja'Marr Chase, DE Trey Hendrickson and RB Joe Mixon.

-The Bengals are the 1st team ever with 4,000-yard passer (Joe Burrow), a 1,000-yard rusher (Joe Mixon) and two 1,000-uard receivers (Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins) each under age of 26.

-Joe Burrow completed 24-of-34 passes (70.6 pct.) for 244 yards with two TDs vs. 0 INTs for 110.4 rating in his postseason debut vs Las Vegas last week.

-Burrow set franchise records in pass yards (4,611) & TD passes (34) this season. He ranked 2nd in NFL with 108.3 rating. Has 1,720 pass yards (344 per game) & 13 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 130.2 rating in his past 5 starts, including playoffs.

-Burrow passed for 249 yards & 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 106.7 rating in the 2020 meeting vs the Titans.

-Bengals guard Quinton Spain spent his first four NFL seasons with the Titans (2015-2019), as he appeared in 50 games with 48 starts.

Injury Report

DE Trey Hendrickson (concussion)

WR Stanley Morgan (hamstring)

DT Josh Tupou (knee)

CB Jalen Davis (ankle)

CB Mike Hilton (ankle)

DE Sam Hubbard (ribs)

Titans HC Mike Vrabel ...

(on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and the weapons he has around him on offense)

They are really explosive. We didn't have many answers for them last year. He is able to extend plays and make a lot of plays down the field receiver-wise. We will have to be better in all phases. We turned the football over, and again that was a long time ago but obviously we are very aware of the type of football team this is and how good they are.

(on what has led to Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase being such a productive tandem this year)

It is the first pick in the draft and the fourth pick in the draft, so obviously they have a lot of talent and the trust and the connection that you referenced is there. It is there down the field whether it is back shoulder, whether it is in the quick game. I think he has that with (Tee) Higgins and (Tyler) Boyd. They don't have any issues throwing the football. He is really good and instinctive in the pocket being able to avoid what rush there may be. He has the ability to extend plays and keep his eyes down the field and the arm talent to get those guys the ball.

(on if there was anything that stood out about the way the Raiders defense played against the Bengals)

Early on I felt like they kept it in front of them. I think that ended up getting them, but they tried to keep it in front of them. They tried to affect the quarterback. There are going to be a lot of things that we will watch and a lot of games that we will watch to continue to see what fits with us and what we think we need to defend.

(on this year's Bengals team compared to last season's team)

They have really good skill players. I think the defense has been good. They have stopped the run. They have gotten turnovers. This team doesn't have a turnover offensively in five games. When you can go out there and do that, that gives you a chance. I think they are really talented. I think their skill players are really talented. I think they have some guys that can affect the quarterback. They are rushing the quarterback with really good ends. (D.J.) Reader has been really good against the run. He is tough to block. (Larry) Ogunjobi is going to be able to attack the line of scrimmage. There are a lot of things that they are doing really well.

(on winning the battles at the line of scrimmage and how challenging that will be against the Bengals)

You can either cover them really good or you can rush them really good. Hopefully both. They have done a nice job. When Riley (Reiff) went down, (Isaiah) Prince stepped in there and looks like they really haven't missed much of a beat. (Jonah) Williams has settled into the pro that everyone thought he would be at left tackle. (Quinton Spain) will be ready to go and fired up to play us. He has had a good year. (Trey) Hopkins, it seems like they have been settled with him at center. It is obviously something that they have improved and focused on.

(on Bengals running back Joe Mixon and the challenges he presents)

A huge challenge. He is obviously talented. Third in the league in carries, so there is a lot of durability there. Third in the league in yards. I have always had a lot of respect for him and his ability to stretch and cut. He has got great vision. When you talk about the receivers and the amount of yards that the quarterback has thrown for, sometimes the runner kind of gets buried behind all those other receiving yards, but he has had a great year and he is a very great runner.

(on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and how good his first two seasons have been)

I think that is probably the thing that is most impressive and coming back off of the injuries. He worked extremely hard. Just has a really good feel for making all of the throws. He is very elusive in the pocket. I would say good play strength. He takes care of the football. They do a lot with him. He is operating from the line of scrimmage sometimes and getting them into the right call. It is going to be a huge challenge.

(on Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader and why he is so critical to the defensive line)

I have always had a really good relationship with D.J. (Reader). He really understands technique, pad level and being able to sink his hips. Whether he is playing a zero technique, a three, a shade, he really understands how to play all those different techniques. I think he embraces his role as a very elite run defender. It will be critical for us to be able to try to neutralize him when we try to run the ball.

(on Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard and the success he has had since they were both at Ohio State)

He was a late bloomer. He played lacrosse. We started recruiting him late, like a lot of people. Big, athletic, smart, instinctive and I think he has really continued to grow and develop as a football player. You saw that at Ohio State, and you are seeing that now. He rushes, they drop him, he bats balls down at the line of scrimmage. He is a very productive player and athletic with very good size.

(on the game against the Bengals last season)

It is enough to make you puke. We can watch it, but it wasn't very good. We have to be better in all three phases. I think you look at it. You have to watch. Conceptually, there are some similarities and things we have to do much, much better.

(on Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and the challenges he presents)

He is big, athletic, fast, great body control, good after the catch, strong hands. Just very talented.

(on if it helps for a cornerback to be familiar with a wide receiver such as cornerback Kristian Fulton's familiarity with Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase)

I hope so. That is all I got. I hope.

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