The old saying is that defenses win championships. George Iloka proved the saying true Sunday afternoon when he picked off Tyrod Taylor late in the fourth quarter that nailed down a victory for Cincinnati. The Bengals put up 20 points; the most any team has put up against the Bills defense thus far in the season.
The Bengals stand at 2-3 and are one game out of first place in the division. Pittsburgh lost at home to the Jacksonville Jaguars due to another outstanding defensive performance that saw Ben Reothlisberger being intercepted five times, two of which went all the way back for pick sixes. Next weekend is the team’s bye week and they get to savor it and have a lot of time to look at what Jacksonville did to negate the high octane offense of Pittsburgh.
Andy Dalton overcame the rain and two interceptions of his own to get the victory with a QBR of 77.1 and 328 yards on 22 completions with a long strike of 77 yards on a touchdown pass to Adriel Jeremiah Green. Dalton also only took one sack on the game for a loss of five yards. Joe Mixon once again led the Bengals backfield with 51 yards on 15 carries including breaking into the end zone for his first career NFL touchdown. Jeremy Hill saw his role reduced even further getting just four carries for 16 yards, half of which came on one run. Giovani Bernard and Dalton combined for four more yards on the ground. Green paced the receiving core with 189 yards on seven catches and the lone aerial score. After him, tight end Tyler Kroft put in another respectable stat line with four catches on five targets for 38 yards, most of which came in the fourth quarter to keep the drives alive. Brandon LaFell also had a nice day with 32 yards on five catches. Bernard, C.J. Uzomah, Alex Erickson, Tyler Boyd also registered catches.
The defense has been on fire the entire season and they didn’t disappoint against Buffalo. Michael Johnson had two of the six sacks the defense made. Geno Atkins, Carl Lawson, Vontaze Burfict and Jordan Willis also took down Tyrod Taylor. Burfict led the defense with 13 tackles, 10 of which were solo while keeping LeSean McCoy to just 63 yards on 19 carries. The highlight of the game defensively is Iloka’s interception on an overthrow inside the 30 late in the game to seal the Bengals second win of the season. After that, the offense came out and it was victory formation and three QB kneels while they broke out smiles and “WHO DEY” could be heard throughout the stadium.
The defensive effort was even more impressive as Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick both succumbed to the injury bug. Jones looked to have re-aggravated a hip injury that has been lingering while Kirkpatrick went down with a shoulder injury. They have plenty of time to rest and recover with the bye week. After that, it’s a battle in Pittsburgh for a shot at first place in the division.
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