With over two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Andrew Whitworth was ejected from the game after Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson grabbed Whitworth in a headlock and tried gouging his eyes out. Whitworth retaliated. Both players were ejected and fined $10,000 without any additional discipline.
That was four years ago.
On Sunday Whitworth was ejected again, but this time he was protecting his young quarterback who was driven into the ground by Raiders' Lamarr Houston when the play had already been called dead due to Andre Smith's false start. Whitworth went after Houston.
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The Raiders were fired up, remnants from a badly timed inadvertent whistle from the officials that negated a possible fumble return for a touchdown and allowed the Bengals to replay a critical third down. What could have been a 27-17 score midway in the fourth, turned into a 34-10 advantage once the Bengals pushed the football downfield.
Yet Whitworth was angry and wasn't about to let Dalton be on the business end of a cheap shot.
"We get paid to do a job and every week I go one-on-one with guys and my job is to keep Andy from getting hit," said Whitworth. "I take a lot of pride in that. It means a lot to me and somebody who gets a cheap shot after the whistle blows four times and takes it because that's his chance to hit the quarterback, I take that personal."
Whitworth said he got in Houston's face, told him never to do it again, "and then he lunged at me with his head." That's when all heck broke loose and there could be more fines coming, not just for Whitworth.
During the postgame press conference Andy Dalton was grateful to have Whitworth on his side.
"I did get hit on the penalty. It’s good to know that guys have my back. It means a lot that Whit’s going to do something like that. The crazy circumstances with everything that went on, especially with the (one play) — was it a fumble? wasn’t it a fumble? are we re-doing the play? — all that kind of stuff. It was a crazy sequence of things that happened, but it’s good to know guys have your back. I love Whit and love the way he plays. He showed that he’s a team player."
After the game head coach Marvin Lewis called it cheap on the Raiders to hit Dalton.
"I think they, in my opinion, took a little bit of a cheap shot at the quarterback and Andrew (Whitworth) came to his rescue, plain and simple."
We've all said it since 2011; when you use the word team, there is no greater example in recent memory than this roster that Lewis has put together in the past couple of years.
The best part? Clint Boling, Kevin Zeitler, Trevor Robinson and Andre Smith just watched a valuable lesson being taught on Sunday when someone f--ks with Dalton.