2022 Super Bowl: Why C.J. Uzomah Will Be the Bengals’ Secret Weapon Against the Rams

Joe Burrow the Cincinnati Bengals take the field in the 2022 Super Bowl against a formidable opponent in the Los Angeles Rams. In order to secure a win and the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy, they’d be wise to turn to their secret weapon in such a big game: tight end C.J. Uzomah.

Uzomah is questionable heading into Super Bowl 56 with a knee injury, but he says there’s no way he’s going to miss the game. With that in mind, here’s why he’s Cincinnati’s secret weapon against LA.

C.J. Uzomah has become a major playmaker for the Cincinnati Bengals

Burrow and the Bengals have a plethora of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Ja’Marr Chase is their superstar on the outside who can frankly do everything as a receiver, and Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are about as good as a one-two punch down the depth chart as you’ll find. Higgins had his first 1,000-plus yard season in just a second year in the NFL. Boyd is one of the more consistent veteran wide receivers in the league

Speaking of one-two punches, Cincinnati boasts an impressive backfield featuring Pro Bowler Joe Mixon and backup extraordinaire Samaje Perine.

With all those players to deal with from a defensive point of view, it can be easy to forget Uzomah over the middle. This, despite the fact that he checks in at an imposing 6-foot-6, 260 pounds.

The veteran tight end made the most of his opportunities in 2021, catching 49 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns. Even if he’s not at 100% for Super Bowl 56, he projects to be a big part of Cincinnati’s offense.

Uzomah will be valuable against LA’s strong pass rush

C.J. Uzomah, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
C.J. Uzomah #87 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after catching a touchdown pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Rams have one of the best pass rushes in the league and some of the most intimidating players in the NFL on their defensive front to back that statement up.

Aaron Donald is arguably one of the greatest defenders of all time, and even at defensive tackle, he can get after the quarterback at a high level. He boasted 12.5 sacks from the interior of LA’s defensive line this season, and few players are more physically imposing (6-foot-1, 280 pounds with incredible speed and quickness).

The Rams traded for Von Miller at the trade deadline, and though he’s no longer the pass-rusher he was during his heyday with the Denver Broncos, he can still bend the edge and put pressure on the quarterback. He notched five sacks in eight games to end the season with LA and has two sacks, four stuffs, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in the playoff run.

Leonard Floyd finished the season with 9.5 sacks. He’d be the leading pass-rusher on many teams.

There’s no doubting the Rams will get after Burrow and the Bengals’ offensive line, but one of the best ways to counter that is the quick passing game, and especially the quick passing game over the middle. That’s where Uzomah can shine in Super Bowl 56.

He caught 77.8% of the passes thrown his way this season and became one of Burrow’s favorite targets. That connection was most evident in Cincinnati’s first playoff game, a 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Chase led the way with 12 targets from Burrow, but Ozumah was his second favorite receiver on the day with six targets, and he caught all six, including one for a touchdown. In the Divisional Round against the Tennessee Titans, Ozumah caught 7 of 8 targets for 71 yards, averaging a chain-moving 10.1 yards per catch.

Burrow has clearly developed a trust with the veteran tight end, and when the Rams get after him in the Super Bowl, look for Uzomah to cash in on that and continue to make big plays for Cincinnati.

Uzomah is an emotional leader for the Bengals

C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals, TE
C.J. Uzomah #87 of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off the field after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-10 at Paul Brown Stadium | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The importance of getting Uzomah back into this game can’t be understated. In fact, it’s almost better for Cincinnati if he’s not 100%.

There’s something about looking at the player next to you and realizing that he’s hurting yet giving 100% alongside you. Having Uzomah in the game very well be the emotional boost that the Bengals need to overcome the Rams. Both teams will be hyped up, of course, but every slight edge in a game like the Super Bowl counts.

Watching a veteran like Uzomah fight his way back onto the field for the biggest game of his life won’t go unnoticed in Cincinnati’s locker room.

“To me, I’m like I’m not missing the biggest game of my life. Right? Like, I’m not missing it,” Uzomah said via Pro Football Talk. “So that’s my approach going into every day of rehab. If I wake up, and I’m like, ‘Oh, man, it’s a little sore,’ it doesn’t matter. . . . Right when I put my feet on the ground, it’s go time. Let’s get this rehab going. Let’s do everything I can to make sure I’m ready and available to play. That’s kind of where my mind is.”

Uzomah is a veteran. In fact, he’s the longest-tenured Bengal on the team. He’s clearly tough, he’s talented, and he knows just how much this win would mean for both the franchise and the city of Cincinnati.

He has all the making of the ultimate secret weapon for the Bengals in Super Bowl 56.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac

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