SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30: Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson #7 of the Seattle Seahawks is sacked by Carlos Dunlap #96 of the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field on October 30, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Bengals defeated the Seahawks 34-12. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
For the past week the gang at Pro Football Focus has been listing the top individual performances at each position, using their grading system within a top-ten fashion. Rather than a season-long effort to determine who had the best season, we're looking at top individual performances for specific games. Now there weren't any Bengals offensive players that made the list, which isn't entirely surprising considering the level of play we've seen across the board.
Defensively. Well that's another story.
The PFF crew began their top-ten on the defensive side of the ball, listing the best individual performances for 4-3 defensive ends. Names like Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, Terrell Suggs, Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole and Jason Pierre-Paul made the list. But it Carlos Dunlap that topped all of them with a score of +11.7.
If you’re looking for one defensive end to breakout with some big numbers next year, you could do a lot worse than turn your attention to Carlos Dunlap. His Week 8 performance against Seattle is a great example of why this could be. Dunlap manhandled James Carpenter as he picked up a sack, three hits, and eight pressures while also blowing up a number of plays in the run game. He was even able to break up a pass in coverage in what was the highest-graded performance of any defensive end in 2011.
That's right. Carlos Dunlap scored the best performance during the 2011 among all 4-3 defensive ends.
We're fairly sure this won't the last time the Bengals are on a top-ten list like that. Paging Geno Atkins.