The 2019 season may be over, but defensive end Carlos Dunlap has brought one last bright spot to try and make 2019 sting just a little less. Dunlap was the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week for Week 17.
Dunlap started the game early by getting to the Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield and forcing a fumble. That help set the tone for the entire defense that recorded six sacks on the day. Dunlap recorded 2.5 of those seven.
This was just the last entry in a strong turnaround for Dunlap this season. He only had 2.5 sacks after Week 12. Finishing the season with nine sacks tells you everything you need to know about what happened next.
His turnaround included a three sack game against the Jets in the Bengals’ first win of the season. That performance also netted him an AFC Defensive player of the Week. This is the second time this Month that Dunlap has earned that honor.
The entire defensive line started to turn everything around at the same time, and it was when Sam Hubbard, Carl Lawson and Dunlap all were able to be healthy at the same time. All three are obviously talented players, but it is clear that they play even better when they are able to rotate with each other.
There was also some speculation that Dunlap could end being a veteran moved from the team when Cincinnati was at their lowest. The veteran defensive lineman just signed an extension this offseason. He showed instead why he was being committed to into the twilight of his career. He not only played out of his mind, but he helped keep a winless locker room from giving up on the season.
No one really knows what will happen this offseason in the first full one under Zac Taylor, but it is pretty safe to say that Dunlap made a very strong argument as to why he should stick around.