On Monday we pointed out that through Pro Football Focus' grading system, Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap had the best single-game performance among all 4-3 defensive ends in the NFL last season. We also hinted that Geno Atkins was surely going to make this list when focus shifted to defensive tackles. Despite the fact that Richard Seymore had the best single-game performance among defensive tackles, Geno Atkins made the list three times (THREE times).
During his wild card game against the Houston Texans, Atkins scored a +5.6, tying with Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff at No. 10.
There’s a tie for the 10th spot with Ratliff and Atkins having both earned a +5.6 game grade. The Cowboys’ nose tackle collected four hurries and a batted pass in addition to besting Jason Kelce in the running game. Atkins was simply too much for Wade Smith to handle, picking up a hit and two pressures on him and a sack on Mike Brisiel. His work when the Texans ran was even more destructive; he chalked up two tackles for short gains and another for a loss. Two fine performances.
Atkins' performance against the Baltimore Ravens (+5.8) earned another tie at No. 7 with Buccaneers Gerald McCoy and the No. 4 overall single-game performance against the St. Louis Rams (+6.3).
You almost knew Atkins was in for a big day when you saw that Jason Brown was in the lineup at guard. So it proved as the Bengal destroyed him time and time again. Brown wasn’t the only one to struggle with Atkins who finished the day with a sack (plus a forced fumble), two quarterback hits, three more pressures, and two tackles for losses. This is Atkins’ third and final appearance on the list.
Really. Atkins is arguably the team's best defensive player, if not one of the league's top interior defenders. You expected anything less than three entries in the best single-game performances from 2011?