Flowers started 37 games in three seasons with Seattle, but after three games in 2021, he was limited to special teams work and eventually released in Week 6.
Cincinnati was looking a little thin at cornerback, and the Bengals had struggled in Week 5 to stop Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, who wracked up 74 yards on eight catches and 11 targets. The Bengals knew Andrews had been a problem in the past. The Ravens tight end averaged 59 yards and nearly one touchdown per game in four matchups between 2019 and 2020, including a 99-yard outing and a two-touchdown performance.
Flowers gave the Bengals a new solution.
“I just think he did a good job when his number was called, whether it was against Baltimore or Kansas City or whoever -- San Francisco -- all those games he had to play that role against some of those bigger guys,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. “Tre’s just got a lot of confidence about him, and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him as well.”
Flowers, originally a fifth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State, finished last season with 17 tackles and a pass defensed in 11 regular-season games and appeared in all four postseason games, seeing action on 17.5 percent of snaps and recording seven tackles and two passes defensed.
His matchups included limiting Darren Waller to two catches for 34 yards over two meetings, holding George Kittle to 17 yards on two catches against him and keeping Travis Kelce to two catches for seven yards in two meetings. Andrews had a big game in the second meeting last year with eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, but only two of those catches (23 yards) were against Flowers.
“Tre’s done a great job,” Taylor said. “Tre steps up and plays his role to a tee, does a great job on special teams and the different roles that Lou and those coaches put him in on defense. He brings a lot of confidence with his play. Made a lot of big plays for us vs some tough matchups, whether it’s in zone or man coverage. Tre just does a really good job. That’s one of those mid-season pickups last year that’s really paid off well for us. ... Tre’s played a big role for us. We’re happy to have him.”
The Bengals re-signed Flowers this offseason, and coming up on the one-year anniversary of his arrival in Cincinnati, he says he is feeling even more comfortable in the system and capable of contributing even more in Year 2.
Flowers said he brought from Seattle a strong awareness of the ball because of the emphasis the Seahawks placed on turnovers, and now knowing the style of Anarumo’s defense and the “IQ of everything,” he is better equipped to make an impact this season.
“Just studying more, you know, it’s been a year,” Flowers said. “This game makes it a year since I’ve been here, so I would say just actually getting a reset coming into this season, now a full year, I just take a step back and learn, take a step forward and going into it just knowing how to prepare, knowing what they’re asking me to do. It’s just as better in my opinion.”
Bengals at Ravens, 8:20 p.m., NBC, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7