All pregame signs pointed to Hakeem Adeniji making the start in place of right tackle La'el Collins for the Bengals against the Bills in the Monday night Mega Bowl at Paycor Stadium.
Bengals left end Sam Hubbard (calf) practice limited all week but it wasn't enough to get him active Monday and he missed his second straight game
With the 11-4 Bengals a win away from taking the AFC North title for the second straight year, they lined up against the 12-3 Bills with a different starting offensive line for the first time this season. Adeniji, who started the last 13 games of last year at right guard, appeared ready to make his second NFL start at right tackle and first since his rookie year in 2020.
Indications last week had been that Isaiah Prince, who started the last eight games of last season at right tackle, had also been in the mix to replace Collins. But he wasn't elevated from the practice squad before Monday's game.
Instead, tackle D'Ante Smith looked like he was going to take Adeniji's place as the swing tackle since he was active for the second time this season. Smith, a 2021 fourth-round draft pick, was set to appear in his fourth game of his career.
Cam Sample was set to make his second straight start in place of Hubbard after he had a career-high six tackles last Saturday in New England on 53 snaps, second only in his career to the 56 snaps he had in Tampa Bay the week before.
MORE MOVES: The guy elevated to the practice squad was third quarterback Jake Browning and he was made inactive, joining Hubbard, offensive lineman Jackson Carman, running back Chris Evans, backup slot cornerback Jalen Davis and backup defensive tackle Jay Tufele. Active on the edge was rookie Jeffery Gunter, playing in his fourth straight game.
OH, WHAT A NIGHT: Bengals all-time passing leader Ken Anderson planned to be at Pacyor Monday 47 years after his 447-yard passing day bested the Bills in the first ever Monday night game in Cincinnati during a 33-24 win on Nov. 17, 1975 at Riverfront Stadium.
Anderson needed the best passing day of his career to hold off Buffalo running back O.J. Simpson's 197 yards on the ground. But he's not so sure that's the game that put him or the Bengals on the map.
After all, he won his first of four NFL passing titles the year before.
"We won the division in '73 and they won it in 1970," said Anderson of the first AFC Central crown that was clinched the year before he was drafted. "The thing about it is that it was such big night for the city. To see Cincinnati lit up like that for the first time, it was electrifying. It was a special night."
SLANTS AND SCREENS: Anderson, the most accurate passer of his era, is going to be in the house when Burrow becomes the most accurate passer of all-time on his 12th pass of the night …
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor opted for his game captains two of the heroes of the last game when he went with strong safety Vonn Bell and nose tackle D.J. Reader.
It was Reader that stood up Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson on the Cincinnati 5 in the last minute and Bell punched it out to preserve the 22-18 win..
And, the last time they played a Monday night game here late in 2020, Bell's hit on Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith Schuster began the Bengals' climb.