At this rate, the Bengals and Chiefs are both going to need multiple bulletin boards for all the material exchanged between the two teams ahead of their AFC championship meetup.
Willie Gay is making sure he gets his quote pinned up as well.
Asked Thursday about what impresses him about Cincinnati’s offense, Gay had a simple, one-word response: “Nothing.”
Not many words from #Chiefs LB Willie Gay today but one thing stood out.
“What impresses you about that Bengals offense?”
— PJ Green (@PJGreenTV) January 26, 2023
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That, of course, is a bold statement for a player that has been on the wrong end of three losses to the Bengals dating back to the start of the 2021 season, during which time the defense has given up an average of 29.3 points.
And PFF has given Gay mixed reviews for his games against Cincinnati. It gave him a 54.6 defensive grade in the 2021 Week 17 meeting, a 72.6 grade for last year’s AFC championship and a 57.0 mark for the Week 13 meetup in 2022.
While there might not be much that impresses the third-year linebacker from Mississippi State about the Bengals’ offense, many others would disagree with his assessment. Cincinnati, riding a 10-game winning streak heading into Kansas City, has averaged 33.5 points per game. Overall in 2022, the Bengals posted the fourth-best total offensive DVOA, per Football Outsiders, and are one of only three teams with a top 10 ranking in both passing and rushing (the Chiefs being another with the No. 1 overall offensive DVOA, No. 1 passing and No. 9 rushing).
The Bengals boast one of the better groups of offensive skill players in the league, with Joe Burrow leading the team at quarterback, Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine at running back, and arguably the best trio of wide receivers in Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd.
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With these teams having met both in last year’s conference title game and two pivotal regular-season meetings in the past two seasons, there is little love lost between them. And that has certainly been made clear by comments made from both sides before games.
During the regular season, Chiefs safety Justin Reid appeared to mistake Higgins, tight end Hayden Hurst and Rams tight end Tyler Higbee when discussing the defensive game plan, and later took to Twitter to say that he was still going to lock up “everybody” before getting into a back-and-forth with Chase. After Cincinnati defeated the Bills in the divisional round, Bengals corner Mike Hilton called Arrowhead Stadium “Burrowhead” when talking about the return to Kansas City.
This game has already been expected to feature some fireworks between two of the league’s premier quarterbacks and offenses. The comments now from Hilton and Gay are only going to fuel the fire on both sides.