The Cincinnati Bengals had five sacks against the Baltimore Ravens and allowed just one. If you had said that last season, there wouldn’t be a single soul that believed you.
However, the Bengals defensive line was forceful in getting to former league MVP Lamar Jackson, taking him down five times for 18 yards. They didn’t get to Tyler Huntley as he ended with 11 pass attempts as well.
That said, Larry Ogunjobi and Sam Hubbard were the two most disruptive players, combining for four sacks. Trey Hendrickson was able to get the other one. In total, the Bengals had seven quarterback hits as well.
The Bengals averaged 1.1 sacks per game last season, the fewest in the NFL. The addition of Ogunjobi and Hendrickson along with a healthy DJ Reader has changed everything for the line. They’ve now tied for the 10th most at 2.3 per game.
It’s far more than just the line though. Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither, two of the team’s four tackle leaders against Baltimore, were all over the field. This unit, mentored last season by now-Raven Josh Bynes, has taken a significant step forward. They combined for 13 tackles and helped hold Mark Andrews to just 3 receptions.
We’re gone from the line to the middle of the field. Now it’s time to heap praise on the cornerbacks. Mike Hilton and Chidobe Awuzie, two offseason additions, were spectacular. Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell added an extra layer of protection.
All four helped hold Jackson to under a 50% completion rate. It was an absolutely phenomenal performance.
While the Bengals did allow Jackson to go over 270 yards on just 15 completions, holding him to just 15 is impressive. The Bengals had allowed over a 68% completion rate this season, so limiting Jackson to under 50% is impressive.
The Bengals killed the Ravens defense, and Joe Burrow’s 400-plus yards will loom large over this game, as will Ja’Marr Chase’s 200-plus yards.
But, the defense should get some buzz as this was arguably their most dominant performance of the season, especially against what easily was their most challenging road game yet.