After the Bengals dropped their fourth straight game this season, a feeling of disappointment permeated the hearts of many Bengals fans. In the three previous losses, the Bengals found themselves often looking lost on offense and inconsistent on defense. But, against the Broncos, the Bengals led a Peyton Manning team for the first time ever. Of course, Manning’s legendary late-game heroics once again came out and claimed the game.
But the Bengals were playing perhaps the hottest team in the NFL, and Manning is possibly the greatest player to ever line up under center. Cincinnati played perhaps their best football of the season despite the losing effort. There are still negatives to take away, but the positives still exist despite the late-game letdown.
On offense, the Bengals brought out their most effective overall game plan this season. The running game, while still nowhere near where it needs to be, was effective against a very solid defense. BenJarvus Green-Ellis managed to rack up the tough yards when it was necessary, but Brian Leonard’s increased snaps in his return found the best running back play thus far in 2012.
Von Miller was dominant in the game, however, and he racked up three sacks. He used his quickness and a surprising amount of power to dominate Andre Smith. The blitz packages and stunts of the Broncos defense overwhelmed rookie Trevor Robinson, making his first start at center, and led to Jeff Faine taking the reins in the second half.
When Faine took over, Miller began blitzing through the A gaps and his pressure led to the crucial Dalton interception. He forced Dalton to throw off his back foot on a deep pass, which Dalton does not have the arm strength to do, and Bailey managed to grab the easy interception.