Think about the players that always seem to do well against the Bengals. I see a good amount of Steelers in your thought bubbles, maybe a handful of Ravens. Is that Trent Richardson breaking 15 tackles off of a screen pass mixed in there as well?
Truthfully, the usual suspects of AFC North that notoriously plagued the Bengals have pretty much all moved on either out of the division or out of the game entirely. Ben Roethlisberger aside, the division surrounding Cincinnati is largely filled with new blood. If you were to ask who was the one player that killed the Bengals every time he played them some years ago, your answer would likely be someone who played them twice a year.
In 2019, Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus is here to tell you that player is... Von Miller?
CINCINNATI BENGALS: EDGE VON MILLER, DENVER BRONCOS, 91.1 OVERALL GRADE
Miller marks the first appearance by a player outside the division of the team in question, terrorizing the Bengals as both a pass-rusher and a run defender. Miller’s pass-rushing prowess has been matched by very few in the league throughout his career, but it’s his run defense that has really shined against Cincinnati. Since entering the league, Miller has recorded a 90.9 run-defense grade and an 88.4 pass-rushing grade in the matchup. Both of those figures rank first among qualifying players who have logged 300 or more snaps against the Bengals.
Whew. Pretty damn good numbers right there.
Miller has been by and large the best pure edge rusher in the NFL for the past... pretty much the entirety of his career? The rest of the AFC West surely doesn’t like to face him twice a season, and he’s been a pain in Cincinnati’s behind every time the two teams face off.
In Miller’s seven career games against the Bengals, he has 6.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss and 18 solo tackles, with almost all of those being stops for Denver’s defense. In his most recent outing against the orange and black, he regulated Bobby Hart to his natural form on the way to sacking Jeff Driskel 1.5 times. In the five games where Miller recorded at least a quarterback hit against the Bengals, the Broncos won. In the two games where he didn’t, the Broncos lost.
Also, it’s completely fitting that Miller’s first career sack came against none other than the Bengals.
Broncos’ LB Von Miller reached 100 career sacks last week. Here’s No. 1 — Sept. 18, 2011, on Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton (complete with Mile High salute) pic.twitter.com/awlhjknWzq— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) November 25, 2018
So, is Miller the guy you’d say kills the Bengals more than anyone else, or is there someone else more menacing on your mind?