The Cincinnati Bengals may have lost more than just a game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. They may have also lost starting left tackle Jonah Williams to a neck injury as well. 

According to a report from’s Ian Rapoport, the Bengals are still awaiting more information on Williams’ injury, but it is not considered overly serious. However, it could keep him out of the team’s Week 8 game against the Titans. Cincinnati takes its bye in Week 9, so sitting out against Tennessee would allow Williams several weeks to recover, and hopefully give him time to come back healthy against the Steelers in Week 10.

Williams left Sunday’s loss after playing 30 snaps. He was replaced by tackle Fred Johnson, who struggled pretty badly in pass protection and gave up a sack of Joe Burrow. 

That’s the worrisome aspect of Williams’ injury, even if he does not remain out long term. The Cincinnati offensive line has been brutal thus far this season, allowing Burrow to be sacked on 8.7 percent of his dropbacks. The Bengals rank 25th in Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking grades, and Williams has been their best pass-blocking offensive lineman. If he has to miss time, one would expect Burrow’s protection to be even worse than it already has been — and even against a Titans team that has checked in with a below-average pressure rate so far this year, that could be a problem.

Burrow has thrown a league-high 293 passes so far this season, and he has been sacked a league-high 28 times as well. The Bengals have been forced to throw more often than they might otherwise like to due to the fact that they’ve been trailing in the significant majority of their games, but they’re also a relatively pass-heavy team in neutral situations. Being that type of team becomes a bit more difficult when the guy tasked with protecting the franchise QB’s blind side is sitting on the sideline. 

For the Bengals’ (and Burrow’s) sake, hopefully this is not an injury that lingers and keeps Williams out beyond the bye.


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