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Jets' Offensive Line Was Overwhelmed By Bengals

Cincinnati sacked Joe Flacco four times, forcing two fumbles and hitting the Jets' quarterback nine times.

During the first two weeks of the season, the pass rush of the Bengals was pretty much non-existent. 

Cincinnati could only muster up two sacks combined against Pittsburgh and Dallas. 

However, at 0-2 and with their backs against the wall, the Bengals pass rush woke up to eat. 

Just when I was starting to believe in Jets, I was reminded of what I had been writing about and warning team General Manager Joe Douglas about all offseason...

The offensive line. 

Cincinnati logged 4.0 sacks on Sunday afternoon. It could have been a lot worse as the Bengals' ferocious pass rushers spent about as much time in the pocket as Jets' quarterback Joe Flacco did.

There were a few reps the green and white uniformed bodyguards gave Flacco a clean pocket to throw from, but by-in-large they got punked. In addition, Douglas' evaluating skills of offensive linemen got completely exposed.

The lateral footspeed of New York's offensive tackles, George Fant (left tackle) and Max Mitchell (right tackle), got exploited numerous times. It was so bad for Fant, they had to give him quite a bit of help. 

That didn't matter as Bengals' defensive end Trey Hendrickson showed everyone at MetLife Stadium why he was the fifth most productive sack artist in the NFL last season.

He blew past Fant like he was waving a red cape at a bullfight. 

In fairness, Fant has never been 100% from the sounds of it, after undergoing off-season knee surgery. Eventually, Fant was taken out of the game. Enter reserve left tackle Conor McDermott (who's on his third team since being a sixth-round pick in 2017). 

Let's just say the lineup change didn't slow down Hendrickson too much. 

Meanwhile, the interior of the Jets' offensive line looked even worse than the tackles did.

Laken Tomlinson (left guard), Connor McGovern (center) and Alijah Vera-Tucker (right guard) looked like human turnstiles. 

Bengals' defensive tackle D.J. Reader was practically in the Jets' huddle he blew up the interior of the line so often. 

If the pass protection (or lack thereof) wasn't concerning enough, the run blocking was a real problem too. 

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New York's run game was stymied for much of the afternoon as neither running back Michael Carter or Breece Hall could rush for more than 39 yards each on the stat sheet. 

The holes the Jets' offensive line created closed faster than elevator doors at a hotel. 

This wasn't just a Cincinnati game issue either. This is something I noticed all preseason too. 

Through the first three games this season, New York ranks No. 24 in the league on the ground. 

It hasn't been any better for the last three seasons since Douglas took over either. The Jets' run game ranked No. 31 (2019), No. 22 (2020) and No. 25 last season. 

Douglas never has been able to build an offensive line that can run block. 

Now what?

That's a great question. 

Nobody is even listed behind McDermott at left tackle on the team's official depth chart. If Fant can't go next week against Pittsburgh, New York will be forced to go out and find another street free agent nobody has ever heard of to suit up and throw on the depth chart behind McDermott. 

As a reminder, we are only going into week four of the regular season. 

I'm sure quarterback Zach Wilson can't wait to come back.

Speak of the devil, according to reports, Wilson may be back in the lineup after mending from his latest knee surgery, and he will get the chance to go up against the Steelers and their No. 6 ranked pass rush (averaging 3.0 sacks per game). 

What a difference a week can make. 

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