Bengals Film Room: John Williams’ Lights Out vs. Steelers

In the spirit of thanksgiving Cincinnati Bengals should be grateful that Jonah Williams – of all players – represents the most unstable component of their offensive line. Not so long ago, he was the complete opposite.

Before real investments were made in the Bengals’ offensive line, Williams had established himself as the sole building block for a group that was maligned to no end. His technical ability and spatial awareness at the age of 22 and 23, let me remind you, allowed him to be a productive left tackle, facing the intimidating gloves of the best wing rushers the NFL has to offer.

Starting over 40 games in Alabama, Williams developed into a capable wingback, but not a perfect one. In 2021, Williams’ first full injury-free regular season, he allowed the second most sacks from every starting left tackle. He jumped out to number one if you include the postseason. He was charged in 10 of the 20 games he played.

He’s up nine in 10 games this season.

We can either take it at face value or provide the appropriate nuance that is hidden just below the surface.

Williams’ pass blocking score of 62.7 ranks 47th out of 58 qualifying tackles this year. Of the 12 tied-or-worst tackles, he has the most individual games scored 70 or higher, including three over 80. It’s a close race at the top, but there are other big names on the list, like Williams. ‘, partner Lael Collins.

Quality games bottom 12 tackle

Player 70-79 >80 General
Player 70-79 >80 General
Jonah Williams one 3 four
Elgton Jenkins 0 3 3
Terrence Steele 2 one 3
Cornelius Lucas 2 one 3
Isaiah Wynn 2 one 3
Mike McGlinchey 3 0 3
Spencer Brown one one 2
Dennis Daly 2 0 2
Matt Pryor 0 one one
Andrew Wiley one 0 one
Nicholas Petit-Fr one 0 one
Lael Collins one 0 one

What matters is the fact that a low overall score is not due to a lack of success, but to a lack of consistency. However, high variance is a dangerous quality for a blind defender, and the Bengals had to live with it for more than two months.

Since most people only care about bags, let’s see where they come from. Four were allowed in the first three weeks, including two against Alex Highsmith and Pittsburgh Steelers in the first week. Williams then began to find success in the next four weeks and dealt just one sack against New Orleans Saints on the 6th week. This is even more interesting when you consider that he sprained knee against Baltimore Ravens at week 5.

Everything was going well until Miles Garrett and Cleveland Browns appeared at 8 weeks. Williams was responsible for three Joe Burrow takedowns in this game, and they account for the majority of the four sacks he’s allowed in the last three weeks.

The variance is incredible, and while much of it can be attributed to the strength of his opposition, there are clear examples of his ability against quality edge rushers.

The first week set it all in motion. The offensive line still took shape as a unit, but Williams’ shortcomings in that game had little to do with the chemistry he had already established with his teammates. Highsmith had the upper hand that day, and that was what made Sunday so important to him. How would he react to a familiar enemy?

The response was unambiguously positive for the Bengalis. After the game, Barrow called Williams and Collins.”lights outfor their defense against the Steelers’ formidable edge rushers / Check out a few notable Williams reps here:

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