Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was the most valuable Bengal on Sunday, as he called a masterful defensive game-plan that held Pittsburgh to just 280 yards, one touchdown, stopped them on 12/14 third-down attempts, and came up with the game-winning turnover with 24 seconds left in the game.
Defensive tackle Domata Peko said this of Zimmer’s pre-game speech that sparked the defensive gem the Bengals pitched against the Steelers in Heinz Field:
They are the No. 1 defense and Coach Zimmer told us last night the best defense is going to win this game, and we took it to heart. You couldn’t have written it any better than to come in here to Pittsburgh, our arch-rival, and to have to win to make the playoffs. And to fight through adversity and get this win. It’s a great win for the city and for the organization.
Geno Atkins, the best player on the field Sunday, also had this to say of Zim:
Zimmer told us it’s going to be on the defensive side to actually win this game. We knew it was going to be a slugfest and basically we were going to find out who’s the better defense: us or the Steelers.
Mike Zimmer deserves to be an NFL head coach, and it’s a crime that he hasn’t been given the opportunity to become one yet. While I want to see Zim stay in Cincinnati, he serves a head-coaching gig, and hopefully he’ll finally get one this offseason with as many as six openings for new head coaches this offseason.