Fans who have been watching probably have witnessed the Bengals’ defense work to keep their team in games, while the offense has worked though its issues. The main way the defense has done this is by getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which is something they have done for quite awhile.
The Bengals actually have the longest sack streak, according to Dayton Daily News, with 34 games including Sunday’s victory over the Bills. In that game Michael Johnson recorded the first sack on the third defensive play for the Bengals by sacking Tyrod Taylor.
The streak stretches all the way back to 2015. Since then the Bengals have see some serious changes across the line. Mostly in old face returning like Johnson and Pat Sims, and the team drafting Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis this season. The streak is kind of surprising considering how many teams out there have had a pass rush as good or better than the Bengals during that period.
What is more impressive is this season’s sack. The Bengals recorded six sacks against the Bills just like they did against the Packers in Week 3. In total they have 18 sacks, which is only behind the Jaguars at this point in the season. The sacks aren’t coming from one source either. It is a matter of everyone getting in on the pressure.
The sack leader right now isn’t surprising. Geno Atkins leads the team with four sacks. He is followed by the rookie Lawson who has 3.5 sacks including one last week and 25 against the Packers. Then Michael Johnson has three after recording two on Sunday. Carlos Dunlap only has one sack this year, but his presence has opened things up for other pass rushers.
The Bengals also haven’t been shy about sending linebackers and even defensive backs at the quarterback. Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict each have a sack this season, and Darqueze Dennard has two this year.
The Bengals’ defense has been great at getting to the quarterback, which seems to be making up for the fact that they aren’t getting turnovers at the same pace their offense is turning it over. The Bengals currently have a -7 turnover ratio on the season. Most of that is on the offense turning it over pretty frequently, but the Bengals defense has only created five turnovers in five games. If there is an area this defense can improve on it is there.
The Bengals will look to continue their streak in Week 7 when they take on the Steelers. The Jaguars managed to sack Ben Roethlisberger twice on Sunday as they routed the Steelers in a 30-9 win. The Jaguars scored on two of Roethlisberger’s five interceptions.
The Bengals defense will have to continue to put this pressure on quarterbacks as their offense gets their feet under them, and if they do Jay Morrison of Dayton Daily News notes they will break another record:
With 18 through five games, the Bengals are on pace for 58. The franchise record is 51, set in 2012.
There’s no question the defense has been playing great all season. Now that the offense is catching up, this is shaping up to be a special season after it looked lost before the bye even hit.