To say it was a tumultuous year for the Bengals’ defense in 2018 would be a massive understatement. Teryl Austin had his unit making flashy plays early in the season, but a record-setting streak of the worst kind in the middle of the year led to his firing.
Still, some of those plays early in the year ended up being crucial to some very important wins. Cast your vote and sound off on your winner for the Bengals’ 2018 Defensive Play of the Year.
Clayton Fejedelem’s forced fumble, recovery and return for touchdown against the Colts: Cincinnati desperately needed to start the 2018 season off with a win, and they were engaged in a back-and-forth affair in Indianapolis. As Andrew Luck was driving the Colts down the field for the go-ahead score, Fejedelem knocked the ball loose from Jack Doyle and took it the other way to seal the win. He was in the game because Shawn Williams had been ejected in the first quarter.
Colts QB Andrew Luck has run out of luck as Clayton Fejedelem gets a turnover in the final moments for the Cincinnati Bengals helping put the Bengals over the Indianapolis #Colts 34-23. Andy Dalton 21/28, 243 Yds, 2 TD, 1 Int. #CINvsIND #NFL pic.twitter.com/TGbfnGMQUs— Swapty Sports (@SwaptySports) September 9, 2018
Shawn Williams’ sack and forced fumble versus the Ravens: Cincinnati shot out to a big lead against their division rivals on Thursday Night Football, but a slow second half kept the door cracked open for a Baltimore comeback. Joe Flacco attempted to tie the game with less than three minutes to play, but Williams showed great hustle to knock the ball away from behind. It set up a game-clinching field goal by Randy Bullock.
Bengals Pounce!— NFL News (@NFLFBGAMETIME) September 14, 2018
Cincinnati takes down the Ravens 34-23 behind A.J. Green’s 3 receiving TDs.pic.twitter.com/NT2qTKFqmJ
Michael Johnson’s interception return for a touchdown against the Dolphins: After a 3-1 start, it appeared as if the magic was running out for the Bengals in their hosting of Miami in Week 5. Needing a big play because of a pretty anemic performance by the offense, Johnson came up with a Johnny-on-the-spot turnover and touchdown to totally change the tide of the contest.
TOUCHDOWN! Michael Johnson tied it 17-17 with a 21-yard pick-six. Holy amazenalls. pic.twitter.com/Uj1IESoznp— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) October 7, 2018
Sam Hubbard’s fumble recovery for a touchdown versus Miami: If the Johnson play against Miami didn’t do it for you, perhaps Hubbard’s scoop-and-score will be more up your alley. The momentum was totally shifting to Cincinnati, but the Dolphins were trying to tie the game with under three minutes to play. Carlos Dunlap grabbed Ryan Tannehill and swatted the ball out of his hands and the rookie did the rest.
Thanks to Carlos Dunlap, #Bengals rookie edge Sam Hubbard, a Cincinnati native and @LetsGoBigMoe alumnus, turns the Ryan Tannehill fumble into six points.— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) October 7, 2018
Well done, @Sam_Hubbard_.pic.twitter.com/jsX8uRfGdX
Jessie Bates’s pick-six against the Buccaneers: Cincinnati began to pull away from Tampa Bay in the second half, thanks to a rough outing by Jameis Winston. His fourth interception of the day resulted in the rookie safety taking it to the house, as well as his being benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Shawn Williams’ pick-six against the Steelers: The Bengals were out of playoff contention in the final week of the season and had many of their star players out of the lineup from injury, but that didn’t stop them from putting forth one of their best efforts of the year. Cincinnati’s defense was very stout against the explosive Pittsburgh offense, and Williams’ big play put the team in a position to nearly pull out an unlikely victory.
Shawn Williams takes it to the house on the pick six! pic.twitter.com/IlnBMg9MyX— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 30, 2018
Which play gets your vote for the Defensive Play of the Year for the Bengals in 2018?
This poll is closed
Clayton Fejedelem’s forced fumble, recovery and touchdown return vs. Colts
Shawn Williams’ strip-sack of Joe Flacco in Week 2
Michael Johnson’s interception return for a touchdown against Miami
Sam Hubbard’s fumble recovery and return for a score against the Dolphins
Jessie Bates’s pick-six versus Tampa Bay
Shawn Williams’ pick-six versus Pittsburgh