'Nothing' about Bengals offense impresses Chiefs LB Willie Gay
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay added more fuel to the team's rivalry with the Cincinnati Bengals when he was asked what impresses him most about his opponent's offense.
"Nothing," the three-year veteran bluntly told reporters Thursday. "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
That's a bold statement coming from Gay, whose team is 0-3 against the Bengals the past two years and whose defense allowed the Bengals to score an average of 28.3 points in those three meetings, including 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter almost eight weeks ago. Cincinnati's offense ranks seventh in scoring and eighth in yards this season.
A lot of this is thanks to quarterback Joe Burrow, who has orchestrated multiple comebacks wins. Burrow has averaged 327.3 passing yards against the Chiefs and posted a career-high 121 passer rating against Kansas City, with a 9:1 touchdown-interception ratio.
Burrow has a lot of help, with two top-20 receivers in Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Chase is tied for sixth with nine receiving touchdowns and is seventh in receiving yards per game, despite missing five games due to a hip injury. Joe Mixon is also one of the better dual-threat running backs in the league, with the fifth-most receptions and sixth-most receiving yards among running backs while also rushing 210 times for 814 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games.
Chiefs-Bengals war of words
Gay's comments are the latest in a series of verbal sparring between the two teams before their rematch of last year's AFC championship. In that game, the Bengals battled from a 21-3 deficit to win 27-24 in overtime for a shot at the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl.
Most of the same faces are back, though the Bengals' villainy is beginning to show. Safety Jessie Bates recently said he hopes Patrick Mahomes' injured ankle is fully healed so there are "no excuses" if the Bengals win. And Cincinnati defensive back Mike Hilton renamed Arrowhead Stadium "Burrowhead" because of Burrow's undefeated record there.
Burrowhead 📍 pic.twitter.com/QQUL8ELEt9
— ZIM (@zimwhodey) January 24, 2023
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce responded by claiming that Arrowhead could break the loudest stadium record because of the Bengals' recent remarks.
"They're throwing a lot of bulletin board material out there," Kelce said on his podcast.
Apart from the defensive struggles, Mahomes' ankle should be a concern, considering how he has played against Cincinnati in the past. He hasn't thrown for more than 275 yards in the past three meetings and struggled in the second halves of those games. The betting line has also fluctuated as news of Mahomes' health trickles out, with the Chiefs currently holding as the favorites — albeit by one point.
Despite all the talk, Mahomes sounds confident as he heads into his fourth meeting with the Burrow-led Bengals.
“I don’t feel like an underdog,” Mahomes said Wednesday. “Especially at Arrowhead.”
This isn't the first time the Bengals have felt disrespected.
Following the cancellation of the Bengals' Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills, head coach Zac Taylor made it known how frustrated he and the team were when the NFL made several adjustments to the playoff seeding. Because of the loss of a game, the Bengals and Baltimore Ravens would've had to flip a coin if Cincinnati had lost in Week 18. That didn't happen, though Mixon did get fined for mocking the NFL's coin-flip decision in the Bengals' win.
When the Bengals upset the Bills last week to advance to the AFC championship game, Burrow and the team told the NFL to "send those refunds" after the league announced it sold 50,000 tickets to a potential neutral-site title game between the Chiefs and Bills in Atlanta.
Now, the Bengals return to Arrowhead once more after a tumultuous season, both as underdogs and as defending AFC champions.