Geno Atkins Pressures Quarterback At Big Moments

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Colt McCoy #82 of the Cleveland Browns runs from Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the season opener at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Geno Atkins only registered one of the two Bengals sacks on Colt McCoy in the team's 23-20 win over the Browns on Sunday but he single handedly changed the game by the way he played. Not only did his sack come on a huge third down play that got the Bengals the ball back, but one of his quarterback hits was the primary reason for McCoy's interception.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bengals were trailing the Browns by a score of 20-17. The Browns had the ball and Bengals fans had the feeling that if they were allowed to score a touchdown, it would be all but over for the Bengals. 

The Browns lined up at their own 25-yard line on first down. McCoy took the snap, faked the handoff and rolled to the right looking downfield. He was looking deep down the field at his receiver but failed to see Bengals defensive lineman Geno Atkins closing. Atkins hit McCoy just as he released his pass causing the ball to float in the air and fall short right into the waiting arms of safety Reggie Nelson.

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The Bengals offense was able to drive down the field and tie the game at 20 with a Mike Nugent field goal. 

Atkins has emerged as one of the Bengals' best pass rushers in 2011. He leads all Bengals in sacks with 6.5 through the team's first 11 games and this was his third game in a row with a quarterback sack. It will be important for him to keep this production up next week when the Bengals travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers for the second time this season. 

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