When right tackle Andre Smith departed midway through the first quarter with a "significant" arm injury, backup tackle Marshall Newhouse dutifully stepped out of the frying pan and into the fire, tasked with blocking defensive end (and MVP candidate) J.J. Watt. We're talking Frodo travels to Mount Doom to destroy the ring power, difficult.
Pro Football Focus wasn't particularly impressed with Newhouse's effort, grading the backup tackle with a pass protection score of -2.9 and a -4.6 grade overall.
But with all due respect to PFF, Newhouse only allowed two pressures (one hit, one hurry) all afternoon. That's a mini-victory on its own.
Granted... Watt often reached an uncomfortable vicinity toward Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, but in the grand scheme of things... he was pretty insignificant. Yes, he did a lot of J.J. Watt things... knocked down a pass, generated a team-high five defensive stops. But when you place everything on the table, you have to ask yourself... Was there a time when Watt took over, made a significant contribution or even left an impression?
Newhouse believed that he played well enough to not allow "any splash plays".
"We ran a lot of plays at him, away from him; we were kind of all over the place pass blocking and all that stuff," said Newhouse after the game. "We just wanted to be consistent and solid and not lunge on him and all that stuff. He’s a great player though. He makes you honest every play, every snap in the first, second, third and fourth quarter. I think I did pretty well for myself. I hold myself to a high standard. After all, we got the win and I'm happy."
"You know, Andre was fired up and ready to go. He comes back off the ankle and has a bicep injury," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "I'm pleased that Marshall was able to go in there. We adjusted a little bit and things worked out."
Smith is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday but the overall feeling is that the injury could be significant enough to end his season.