It may not have been obvious in the first two weeks, but this Cincinnati Bengals defense is poised for another great season.
Lou Anraumo’s group really stepped up in key situations like the red zone and third down on Monday Night Football, and they found a way to generate turnovers, despite Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford playing it safe early on.
Let’s take a look at this defensive performance.
We start up front with D.J. Reader doing D.J. Reader things.
Reader (98) holds his gap until the cutback brings the ball back to him. Then he quickly disengages and makes the play.
Reader had a great night and had a key sack that helped keep the Rams out of the end zone early in the game.
Here is a cut up of Trey Hendrickson's dominant performance from last night. He was an unstoppable force against the Rams LTs. pic.twitter.com/ycW6Z4Zffv— mike (@bengals_sans) September 26, 2023
Speaking of sacks, as usual, the only thing that could stop Trey Hendrickson (91) from partying on the quarterback was penalties.
The battered Rams offensive line was outmatched, leading to a dominant performance by Hendrickson and Co. Let’s not give the Rams that excuse, though, because no one ever lets the Bengals off the hook when their offensive line is injured. Hendrickson is a dominant player who was eating Wednesday night.
Nick Scott (33) has had his growing pains as he adjusts to his new surroundings, but he made some key plays against his old team.
This was a fantastic run fit on the goal line.
This Dax Hill blitz and TFL is an awesome display of his athleticism pic.twitter.com/szLWCm5SND— mike (@bengals_sans) September 26, 2023
His fellow safety, Dax Hill, has been fun in his second season, with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo moving him all over the field.
Hill (23) looks incredible in this play as he adjusts to the wide path of the running back and makes the tackle for a loss. He led the team in tackles and had a sack in this game.
Awesome play call and an even better play from Logan Wilson.— mike (@bengals_sans) September 26, 2023
The Bengals roll from single high to a Tampa 2 creeper. Wilson opens his hips to the passing strength but when he recognizes Stafford is rolling left, he flips his hips and cuts off the in breaker to that side. pic.twitter.com/rr81SNE8La
This defense is evolving into a unit that causes more turnovers, which is exactly what you need to complement a quarterback like Joe Burrow.
Logan Wilson is a big part of that change, and it showed on Monday night. Here is one of Wilson’s (55) two picks in the game.
D.J. Turner sticky man coverage on the Atwell corner route pic.twitter.com/FUM5tYof80— mike (@bengals_sans) September 26, 2023
Speaking of where this defensive club is going, don’t count out the rookies.
DJ Turner (20) isn’t getting all the reps, but when he’s out there, he’s locking his man down.
Myles Murphy sprints into frame and then does a fantastic job as the penetrator on the TEX stunt to get Sam Hubbard a clean shot on Stafford. pic.twitter.com/XSiGMk8n5u— mike (@bengals_sans) September 26, 2023
First-round pick Myles Murphy (99) has not made the big splash of other rookies, but he has made a nice contribution as a rotational player. Look for these rookies to take on larger roles as the season progresses.
The Bengals' defense may be even better than it was a year ago and are set up to continuously improve as their young talent develops.