CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers fumbles the ball as he is hit by Rey Maualuga #58 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals recovered and added a field goal a few plays later. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Through four weeks this season, the Cincinnati Bengals rushing defense is allowing a league-best 3.1 yard/rush average; tied with the Dallas Cowboys. And it's not like the Bengals faced your status quo WWF challengers during old school Saturday morning wrestlers that made the Superstars look good. Most of Cincinnati's opponents have featured established running backs with a history of accomplishment on the eve of facing another in Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew.
Peyton Hillis posted 1,177 yards rushing, a 4.4 yard/rush average and 11 rushing touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns in 2010. Cincinnati's rushing defense held Hillis to 57 yards rushing and a 3.4 yard/rush average; his lowest average this season. San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore averaged 107.5 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving) for every game dating back to the 2006 season. The Bengals defense held Gore to 42 yards rushing on 17 carries and a 2.5 yard/rush average and no receptions. Fred Jackson averaged 4.49 yards/rush during his past 36 games; Cincinnati's defense held Jackson to a 3.9 yard/rush average and 66 yards rushing; both are season lows.
Cincinnati's only blemish on their stout rush defense resume is Denver Broncos' Willis McGahee, who rushed for 101 yards during Denver's 24-22 week two win over the Bengals. At the same time McGahee only averaged 3.6 yards rushing during the game. Additionally it's not McGahee's only 100-yard performance this season; he rushed for 103 yards against the Green Bay Packers.
The following is Cincinnati's opponents and their running backs attempting to rush on this stalwart defense.