Like the offense, the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive unit achieved in some aspects last year. They finished No. 8 against the pass and rushed the passer pretty well, but struggled against the run and in forcing fumbles.
Still, it was in the former category that some of the team’s biggest plays of the year occurred. The athleticism of the unit was showcased with many big interception returns in 2017.
Cast your vote for the defensive play of the year and sound off on your winner in the comments!
William Jackson’s pick-six off of Aaron Rodgers:
The team’s 2016 first round selection made his first career interception truly count. Not only did he garner it against future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, but he took it to the house for a big Cincinnati score.
The Bengals had an improbable 14-7 lead at Lambeau Field when Jackson jumped a route on the right sideline. Though the Bengals ended up losing the contest, it was a huge play in a game that could have been one of the bigger wins in the Marvin Lewis era.
Carlos Dunlap’s pick-six off of Jacoby Brissett:
Cincinnati was in a back-and-forth contest against the struggling Colts, as both teams were attempting to salvage midseason playoff hopes. Indianapolis had a lead late in the game and then had the football as they attempted to milk the clock.
Big defensive end Carlos Dunlap made one of his trademark pass deflections, but also grabbed the ball and rumbled into the end zone. It helped to secure the win for the Bengals and put them back in the AFC race at the time.
Dre Kirkpatrick’s near pick-six against the Broncos:
After signing a big offseason contract, Kirkpatrick had a little bit of a down year in 2017. Still, he had one of the biggest (and frustrating) plays of the entire year. The Denver Broncos were hosting the Bengals in November, with both needing a win to keep a weak pulse in the AFC playoff picture.
As Brock Osweiler and the Broncos were knocking on the door for a touchdown, Kirkpatrick jumped the route and galloped 100 yards. On the way into the end zone, the veteran corner inexplicably fumbled the ball, but recovered it at the Denver 1-yard line, leading to a Tyler Kroft touchdown.
Darqueze Dennard’s pick-six against Joe Flacco:
In a game full of big plays and emotion, Dennard came up with a huge second half play, as the Bengals spoiled the Ravens’ playoff hopes. Joe Flacco threw a short pass to Chris Moore, who bobbled it a couple of times.
Dennard was Johnny-on-the-spot and nabbed the ball out of the air. He ran down the sideline and followed many blocks to get into the end zone after running for about 86 yards.
What was the biggest defensive play of the year for the 2017 Bengals?
This poll is closed
William Jackson’s pick-six against Green Bay
Carlos Dunlap’s pick-six against the Colts
Dre Kirkpatrick’s near pick-six versus Denver
Darqueze Dennard’s pick-six versus the Ravens