Cincinnati Bengals rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard played a season-high 18 snaps against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Leon Hall initially started, but departed with a strained back in the second quarter. Of the 18 snaps that Dennard played, 13 were in coverage.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dennard allowed one completion for 10 yards, which resulted in a touchdown. We're not exactly sure when the touchdown happened. It wasn't the one-yard Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown in the first half, nor the 32-yard touchdown reception by Dwayne Allen -- a 260-plus pound tight end that sprinted away from Vincent Rey -- in the third quarter.
It must have been the nine-yard touchdown reception by Bradshaw with 12:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. Dennard is playing the slot, squaring up against Colts wide receiver Donte Moncrief (a rookie out of Mississippi).
Moncrief comes out and Dennard collides with the receiver, being physical and disrupting the timing. That's good technique, Darqueze. That's when Bradshaw popped out from the backfield.
Dennard was the first one to challenge Bradshaw, but overcompensated...
...allowing Bradshaw to cut away from the rookie cornerback. A last-ditch dive to make a tackle came up empty. Vincent Rey and George Iloka also failed to bring down Bradshaw before the veteran running back scored his sixth receiving touchdown of the season (an NFL high among all running backs).
That said, veteran cornerback Terence Newman was proud of Dennard.
"I thought he handled it well, which I already knew was going to be a fact," Newman said after Sunday's loss. "He's very polished. He’s a veteran to me, not a rookie. He’s a guy that doesn't let much get to him. He played hard, he played smart, I was proud of him."
According to Pro Football Focus, linebackers Marquis flowers and Vincent Rey, along with cornerbacks Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick had the worst grades in pass coverage. Adam Jones and Newman had the best grades.