The Cincinnati Bengals defense was lights out against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. The usual suspects showed up. Logan Wilson had two interceptions, and Trey Hendrickson seemingly lived in the LA backfield. Sam Hubbard was his normal, solid self.
A new element to the Bengals' defense stood out, though, as Dax Hill had his coming-out party under the bright lights. The second-year man out of the University of Michigan was drafted to replace Jessie Bates III, and that is no easy task.
Over Bates’ four years in Cincinnati, he proved to be one of the best safeties in the NFL, and the Atlanta Falcons paid him as such.
Heading in to this season, the safety duo of Hill and Nick Scott was going to be a question mark. With Scott seeing limited time with the Rams and Hill seeing virtually none in his first NFL season, we will likely learn a lot about both of them as the year goes on.
What we learned Monday night is that Hill is a dynamic off-ball player who happens to be able to cover really well. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo once again dialed up timely blitzes from a defensive back, and Hill made them count.
. @daxhill5 with probably his biggest game as a pro to date on Monday Night Football vs the #Rams:— Josh Iles (@WDNToday) September 26, 2023
8 Total Tackles
7 Solo Tackles
2 Tackles for Loss
1 Sack#Bengals #RuleTheJungle #WhoDey pic.twitter.com/fo01wfiqgx
Eight tackles (seven solo), two tackles for loss and one sack. Just a whale of a night for the second year man. Safeties are asked to do a lot in the Bengal defense, and it appears the versatility coaches fell in love with when Hill was coming out of college is starting to pay off.
Bates left a hole in the defense, but Hill looks prepared to step in and make his own impact.