When opportunity knocks, the best teams usually take advantage. So when the Bengals defense faced the turnover-prone Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers, they made sure to capitalize. And did they ever. The Bengals’ back seven intercepted Winston four times in nearly three quarters of play, and Winston’s last interception (and throw of the game for that matter) was returned for a touchdown by none other than the youngest player on the team’s defense.
Bengals rookie safety Jessie Bates made headlines with his outstanding performance against the Buccaneers and is up for the Pepsi Rookie of the Week award for Week 8. Bates finished with six tackles (three of them being stops for the defense), three passes defended, and his pick-six, which may’ve ended Winston’s season as the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback.
Bates was a crucial element in the Bengals defense only allowing nine points from the Buccaneers offense in the first half, and stopped a couple of big passes targeted for DeSean Jackson.
Pro Football Focus also had high praise for Bates following the game:
#Bengals' Jessie Bates did Jessie Bates things on Sunday.— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) October 29, 2018
JBIII earned a career-high 92.3 single-game grade against the Bucs. He now owns the fourth-highest overall grade (83.8) among all qualifying NFL safeties.
Not bad for a rookie second-round pick, I'd say. pic.twitter.com/i0bghOHvLN
For a second-round pick to come in and start from day one, Bates has been everything the Bengals could’ve asked for. This performance was the culmination of the work Bates has put in from the first half of the season, and we can’t wait to see what he has in store for the second half.
The Bengals defense may be on pace to give up a ton of yards and points, but at least they have a worthy asset at safety in the fold. Make sure to vote for Bates HERE.