Is there anyone who is having more fun playing the game of football than Bengals defender BJ Hill?
Last week, in a clip that is going viral around the league, Hill lined up by himself against the entire Colts’ offensive line and can be heard imploring, “Hey, let me get through.”
Hill notched the first interception of his six-year NFL career in the win over the Colts and followed that up with yet another one Saturday afternoon as he managed to corral an attempted Nick Mullens throwaway while sitting on his rear end in what would be a one-score win in overtime.
Is there any chance Hill might consider a move to nickel corner?
“No, I’m gonna stay at d-tackle,” he said. “I’m good.”
BJ Hill never had a doubt they were stopping Vikings on third and fourth down in OT pic.twitter.com/1d0hGbgYYu— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) December 16, 2023
In all seriousness, Hill has been one of the mainstays of a Bengals’ defensive front that has been challenged at times but has begun to find its identity.
Even after a big part of that identity, DJ Reader, was lost to a knee injury early in Saturday’s game against the Vikings, Hill and his mates did not miss a beat.
“I feel like we’ve got a great group of guys here that’s good at football,” Hill said. “We never miss a beat. Next man up.”
Things definitely looked bleak for the Bengals early in the overtime period, with Minnesota facing a third-and-one from Cincinnati’s 42-yard-line. A first down there would probably spell defeat for the Bengals. But it was not to be.
Cincinnati’s frontline stopped the Vikings cold on two consecutive quarterback sneaks and gave its offense the ball back in good field position. The Bengals turned that opportunity into the winning points.
“They didn’t move the ball at all,” Hill said of the stops. “Me and Zach (Carter), whoever was in, we just got great knockback on the guard and center, and they didn’t move us at all.”
Those stops helped keep the Bengals in the middle of the playoff picture, a situation not many people foresaw after Cincinnati lost its franchise quarterback, Joe Burrow, to a wrist injury in a week 11 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. But instead of losing hope, this locker room saw it as an opportunity.
“There sure are a lot of people outside this building who gave up on us,” Hill said, “And you can’t give up on a team like this. If you try to call us out, we’re gonna prove you wrong.”
The Bengals have rallied behind backup quarterback Jake Browning and have overcome multiple injuries on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
The lesson? Don’t ever count this team out.
“We always got a chance,” Hill said. “Every time we’re on the field, we’re bound to make a big play. That’s what we do. That’s who we are.”
That’s who they were Saturday against the Vikings. Hopefully, that’s who they will be for the rest of the season.