The Bengals and Dolphins started off the NFL week on Thursday Night Football and the strong performances from some Bengals players couldn’t be topped on Sunday or Monday by members of any other NFL team.
Surprisingly, considering how well he played, A.J. Green wasn’t one of those players who couldn’t be topped. He had 173 receiving yards and 1 touchdown, which you would think might be hard to beat, but, Julio Jones dominated on Sunday in the Falcons' matchup with Panthers and recorded a 300 yard, 1 touchdown game that broke Falcons records and has only been surpassed by five players in NFL history.
But, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, kicker Mike Nugent and cornerback Josh Shaw (though for his special teams play) were the top graded players at their positions in PFF’s Week 4 rankings.
Dunlap is gaining recognition as one of the NFL’s most disruptive defensive ends. Here’s what PFF had to say about him this week:
Dunlap was a monster against the Dolphins, notching two sacks, a hit, four pressures, two batted passes, and forcing a fumble over the course of his 36 snaps of play. You won’t find many more-impressive outings from any defensive player this week.
Dunlap was the highest graded edge defender this week and received an 88.2 grade, which is part of the second highest grading tier, for “high quality” players. Elsewhere on the defensive line, on the defensive interior, Aaron Donald and Nick Fairley just barely recorded higher grades than Geno Atkins' 86.1, keeping him off this week's top players list. Donald got an 89.2 and Fairley an 87.3 grade.
Mike Nugent was an essential key to the Bengals’ win on Thursday as he went five-for-five on his field goals, including a long of 47 yards. Nugent has succeeded on 12/13 of his field goal attempts this season, which equates to 92.3% of field goals made, the best such percentage of his 12-year NFL career. Nugent was deemed the best kicker of the week by PFF:
There was no standout kicker performance this week, but Mike Nugent was five for five on field goals, and kicked the only extra point he attempted, providing 16 of Cincinnati’s 22 points against Miami on Thursday night.
Josh Shaw has been stepping up on defense, but, PFF is also acknowledging his special teams work, as the top graded special teams player of the week. On defense, Shaw has a 77.5 rating as a cornerback, which is actually higher than the grades PFF has assigned Adam Jones, George Iloka, Shawn Williams and Dre Kirkpatrick so far this season.
Joshua Shaw has been an impressive player for the Bengals this season at cornerback, but has also been seeing time on special teams, notching a couple of tackles this week, and earning strong grades on both kickoffs and punt coverage.
With Cedric Peerman on Injured Reserve, it’s nice to think Shaw could rise to the occasion in his place.