We knew going into last Sunday's game versus the Denver Broncos that their tandem of defensive ends would provide a long day for the Bengals' bookend tackles. Both Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller have been Pro Bowl players at the NFL level, and their size and speed makes them a lethal pair. The mountainous Andrew Whitworth has his struggles against the shorter and shiftier Dumervil; while Andre Smith was seemingly taken to task by the young Miller. As we noted in one of our postgame analysis pieces, Smith had a rough day at the office.
Though Smith's struggles that afternoon may have been overstated. CBSSports' Pete Prisco took a look at the film and happened to grade Smith a bit higher than most did (including us) on the day.
Speaking of tackles getting whipped, I initially thought Bengals right tight tackle Andre Smith, who is having his best season, was no match for Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller last week. Miller had three sacks of Andy Dalton. But the reality is Smith was really only to blame for one of them. The first sack Miller got actually came when he stunted inside and ran over guard Kevin Zeitler. The second sack came when Miller worked underneath Smith in one-on-one blocking to get Dalton. In fairness to Smith, Dalton held the ball too long. Smith had Miller blocked. The third sack came when Miller whipped Smith with a bull rush and came underneath him to dump Dalton in the third quarter. Miller did draw a holding penalty in the fourth quarter on center Jeff Faine when he looped inside on a stunt. That wiped out a 19-yard completion from Dalton to A.J. Green. That's the play where Dalton was heard on the mike complaining to the officials that they were costing his team the game. Sorry, Andy, but Faine hog-tied him. But I have to apologize to Smith. When I first watched the game on television, I thought Miller got the best of him. He didn't. Smith actually played OK.
I don't know whether we should feel relieved or not by this review of the tape. I suppose it's good to hear that Smith didn't get thoroughly dominated as we all thought, but then the blame has to get placed all over the line. If Zeitler was indeed the culprit for one of those sacks, it's one of the only major gaffes he's made in his rookie season, thus far. And, we all know the issues that Faine has had at center this season. It is simply more evidence that the line hasn't been playing all that well this season as a whole.
Our own Josh Kirkendall said a bit of the same thing as Prisco in his analysis, but it appears that the writer for CBSSports gives Smith a bit more of a pass on his performance than most of us did.