Cincinnati Bengals rookie Dax Hill might need the biggest performance of his career so far if his team is to get past the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The first-rounder hasn’t played much all season behind the likes of Jessie Bates, instead filling in at corner when needed.
But that might change in Buffalo, where cornerback Tre Flowers is a likely scratch from the game after receiving a “doubtful” designation on the final injury report.
Flowers is the unofficial tight-end stopper for the defense, a chess piece that coordinator Lou Anarumo deploys against the likes of Travis Kelce to swing outcomes.
Hill likely steps into that role now and it’s on one of the biggest stages possible against Buffalo’s Dawson Knox. He had a slow start to his year but has caught fire as of late, catching a touchdown in five consecutive games.
The Bengals defense needs Hill or whoever else steps into that role to lock things down. That could include throwing linebackers at Knox. Either way, the secondary will otherwise already have its hands full trying to contain superstar wideout Stefon Diggs, never mind accounting for quarterback Josh Allen’s ability to take off and run.
Hill, who had three penalties in the wild card round, could provide a boon to the defense if he can step up. The ball’s predictably coming his way, so it’s on the rookie to elevate his game for his team when it’s win-or-go-home time.