The Bengals gave up a lot of sacks during the 2021 season, but one near-miss was key to their trip to the Super Bowl.
They snapped the ball on a third-and-seven in their own territory while tied with the Chiefs with under 10 minutes to play in regulation of the AFC Championship Game and Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was on Joe Burrow quickly. Jones got his hands on Burrow, but the quarterback wriggled free and moved out of the pocket. Jones dove to try for another tackle that Burrow evaded as he scrambled for a first down.
Cincinnati kicked a field goal on that drive and the Chiefs matched it, but they lost in overtime. On Wednesday, Jones said that failing to bring Burrow down served as fuel for his entire offseason.
“I missed some of the biggest plays of the game,” Jones said, via Nate Taylor of TheAthletic.com. “You use that as motivation the whole offseason. I felt like if I would’ve made those sacks, the game would’ve been different. I take accountability for that. For me, that’s my driving force right now.”
The Chiefs have gone through big changes on both sides of the ball since that loss, but still have championship aspirations this season. They’re counting on players like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce to keep things rolling on offense and Jones will be central to their defensive hopes.