If you were worried about Terence Newman playing this weekend, don't be.
After sitting out for a handful of plays against the Buffalo Bills (at the time described as a hip, now known to be an abdomen), Newman returned to the game. He gave up the game-tying touchdown to Marquise Goodwin that sent the game into overtime. Once the Bengals secured the win, Newman "indicated after the game" that the 40-yard touchdown to Goodwin "wasn't because of the injury."
Despite allowing the touchdown, Newman remains Cincinnati's second-best cover corner. In 39 passes attempted to players he's covering, 23 have been completed for 287 yards with 77 coming after the reception. Along with an interception, three passes defensed and the touchdown allowed to Goodwin, opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 79.8 against Newman.
So when he sat on Wednesday and Thursday, there was concern about Cincinnati's secondary against the league's sixth-ranked passing offense. Stafford is fourth in the NFL with 1,772 yards passing, in an offense that's best described as a quick-strike spread offense. In six games this year, Stafford has only been sacked nine times (second-best among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts) while averaging 7.4 yards/pass (17th among the same that qualified).
It's not just one receiver either. Detroit has four players with 20 receptions or more, but only one of those (Calvin Johnson) is a receiver. Running backs Joique Bell (23) and Reggie Bush (20) are second and third while tight end Brandon Pettigrew is tied for Bush with 20 grabs. With Bell hurt, possibly wearing a flak jacket Sunday, and Johnson recovering from a knee injury two weeks ago, players like wide receiver Kris Durham (14 receptions for 171 yards receiving in the last three games) and Joseph Fauria have risen (three touchdowns last week).
Newman is expected to play, listed as probable after full participation during Friday's session.
"He was a little sore after the game last week. It was good to get the blood going again last couple days on his own and then to get back out there and working again today," coach Marvin Lewis said via the Enquirer.
Writes Joe Reedy with the Enquirer:
If there were any doubts about Newman’s availability, he would have been questionable on the injury report. Probable according to league definitions means 75 percent chance or greater, but if a player is inactive after being classified as probable, there usually is a call from the league office asking for an explanation.
Good. Because the Bengals will need all hands on deck to continue their trends of holding opposing passers to under 300 yards in 21 straight games, which included notable passers like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Jay Cutler.