After a disappointing start to the year, second-year defensive end Sam Hubbard has become a major contributor, and edge rusher Carl Lawson is thriving as a result.
Over the last four weeks, Hubbard has been a top edge rusher, posting a healthy PFF grade of 78.8. He has been one of the league’s best edge players against the run in that period as well.
If you think Sam Hubbard has played better/healthier, PFF agrees.— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 22, 2020
His 78.8 grade over the last 4 weeks ranks 11th best for edge defenders with the 7th highest run defense grade in that span.
Hubbard and Lawson put their pass-rushing ability on display against Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers last Monday night, when they combined for 12 total QB pressures, seven QB hits, and four hurries. Most of those were, of course, the work of Lawson. But it was clear that Hubbard stepping up allowed Lawson to thrive.
While it is encouraging to see Hubbard finally get it going this season, it is still clearly not enough. The team needs to bring back Lawson and provide help, as Carlos Dunlap is now gone and Geno Atkins is probably on his way out as well. That help could come through the Draft, but with so many holes to fill, Mike Brown and his daughter may just have to reach into their crusty old wallets one more time and spend in free agency.
You can watch our analysis of the Bengals’ dominant defensive performance against the Steelers below:
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