Two Players Have Resurrected the Bengals Franchise

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Coming off of a 4-12 season and a stretch of three seasons that saw the Bengals go 18-30(incl. playoffs), the 2011 season wasn’t one that had a lot of optimism going into to for Bengals fans. But there were a young, talented, and hungry group of players who new they had the ability to make the Bengals winners, despite all the adversity they were facing.

Sept 25, 2011; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith (11) runs the ball by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) at Paul Brown Stadium. San Francisco defeated the Bengals 13-8. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE


Geno Atkins would be the leader of a defense that would carry the team through the 2011 season en route to a wild-card playoff berth, as he accounted for a team-high 7.5 sacks while notching 53 quarterback disruptions. He has thus far been one of, if not the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL. His recognition as such was made by Pro Football Focus today in their Mid-Season All-Pro Team:

Geno Atkins, CIN (+15.6): While he was playing well before the Bengals went down to Jacksonville, Atkins hit new heights with one of the most destructive defensive tackles performances in many a year. So far in 2012 he’s chalked up 21 quarterback disruptions.


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