It was a game the Bengals dominated throughout, but it was cornerback Leon Hall whose third-quarter pick-six off of Nick Foles put the game out of reach. For his efforts, Hall has been named the Week 12 AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
This is the second time Hall has claimed this award in his nine-year career. He earned his first AFC weekly defensive honor in Week 16 of 2008, when he tied a Bengals single-game record with three interceptions at Cleveland, including one for a 50-yard touchdown during his team's 14-0 win.
Hall also racked up six tackles and two pass deflections in Sunday's win. While the pick-six is what got the attention, he also made several tackles on the edge to keep the Rams ground game at bay for four quarters. Foles finished the game with just 228 passing yards to go with three interceptions, and Hall rarely allowed his receiver any breathing room, something he's been doing a lot more this season.
In fact, Hall is quietly having a nice bounce-back season after a subpar 2014 that came after he tore his Achilles midway through the 2013 season. He's part of a Bengals' pass defense allowing just 6.8 yards per pass attempt, the sixth-fewest of any team. Though Hall is now 30-years-old, it's clear he still has plenty left in the tank, and he's making a strong case to be re-signed this offseason when he becomes a free agent in March.
This season, Hall has recorded 34 tackles, two interceptions and nine pass deflections. He's climbing up the franchise record book for career interceptions and now stands at 26, the fourth-most any Bengal has ever had. Last Sunday's interception broke a tie with Bengals great Lemar Parrish, who had 25 interceptions in his career.
Hall is now five interceptions behind David Fulcher (31) for third-place all-time and seven behind Louis Breeden (33) for second-place. Hall probably won't come close to Ken Riley's career mark of 65, but it still speaks to how important Hall has been to the Bengals that he ranks highly on the all-time interceptions list for the franchise.
As for the rest of the Bengals, this award is the fourth weekly or monthly AFC award earned by a Bengals player this season. Wide receiver A.J. Green was named Offensive Player of the Week for his 227-yard, two-touchdown performance at Baltimore on Sept. 27. Kicker Mike Nugent won the special teams honor for his game-tying and game-winning field goals on Oct. 11 against Seattle. Quarterback Andy Dalton was named Offensive Player of the Month for October, when he led the Bengals to a 3-0 record with a 111.6 passer rating on the month.