In the past four weeks, the Bengals have faced a who’s-who of the NFL’s upper class of NFL quarterbacks in Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Carson Palmer, as well as some guy named Matt Cassel. Those QBs have a combined nine Pro Bowl selections between them, as well as two super Bowl MVPs from Manning.
Yet in the same span, the Bengals defense has accounted for 16 sacks, recovered four fumbles, and snagged four interceptions while allowing only one offensive touchdown.
But it was yesterday’s performance that will likely be the most memorable one in 2012, as the the defense kept Cincinnati in the game as they shut down the Chargers’ offense all day as they kept one of the game’s top QBs in Phillip Rivers out of the end zone. They made sveral game-changing plays, including a huge play from Carlos Dunlap, knocked the ball out of Rivers’s hand for his second sack and strip of the day and then chased down the fumble at the SD-13 with Cincinnati clinging to a 17-13 lead with four minutes remaining in the game.
The Bengals tacked on three points, and then on the next drive, after allowing Rivers to drive the Chargers down to the CIN-18, Reggie Nelson sealed the win with an end zone interception to give the Bengals their seventh win as they’ve rallied from 4-5 start to put themselves right in the thick of the NFL playoff race.