While the Bengals gave up 34 points to the lowly Browns during Sunday’s defeat, the defense finished the day having allowed only 328 yards, including just 110 yards on 34 carries (3.2 ypc), while holding phenom rookie Trent Richardson to a mere 37 yards on 14 carries (2.6 ypc). Wreaking havoc in the Browns backfield for much of the day was Geno Atkins. While he’s been mostly acknowledged for his abilities as the best pass-rushigh DT in the NFL, his abilities asa run-defender cannot be ignored, as noted by Pro Football Focus:
While our highest rated defensive tackle coming into the week, Geno Atkins (+3.1) receives most of his plaudits due to being one of the best interior pass rushers in the league, it’s worth noting that he’s no slouch against the run either. As a pass rusher this week he managed just the one quarterback hurry but also tipped the pass that was picked off by defensive end Michael Johnsonon 1st-and-10 with 8:50 left in the 1st quarter. Against the run he played 25 snaps and made each of his four tackles count, with all of them resulting in defensive stops. That gave him a Run Stop Percentage of 16.0%. The most impressive of these plays came on 1st-and-10 with 1:02 left in the first quarter. Beating right guard Shawn Lauvao (+0.8) to the outside, Atkins was already 3 yards deep in the Cleveland backfield when the ball was handed off to Montario Hardesty, with only a strong effort from the running back taking the run beyond the line of scrimmage.
While most of the focus is on the offense with the lack of running game, the sudden turnover-prone Andy Dalton, and the continued rise to elite status by A.J. Green, there needs to be more attention paid to the greatness of the man becoming know in NFL circles as Big Geno.