Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Domata Peko, Robert Geathers, and Geno Atkins were expected to be one of the NFL’s best defensive lines in 2012, and they’ve done nothing to disappoint. They’ve combined for 28.5 of the Bengals’ NFL-leading 43 sacks, but they’ve gotten an unexpected boost form journeyman defensive end Wallace Gilberry.
The team signed 5th-year defensive end out of the University of Alabama after he’d spent four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs while posting 14 career sacks, including a career-high seven sacks in 2010. It was believed he would come in as nothing more than a body to give the other more-acclaimed Bengals defenders a breather, but Gilberry has notched five sacks on the year, the third-most on the team.
He made his biggest impact on the season this past Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles when he picked up a Bryce Brown fumble and ran it back 25 yards for the score and an 11-point lead that essentially broke the game open and allowed Cincinnati to cruise to their eighth victory of the year. He finished the night with 2 tackles, a sack, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.