Defense – The defense as a whole played well on Sunday. After 2 games with 5 TDs and 0 INTs, the Bengals forced Campbell into 3 picks and despite the inept offense, the defense held the Browns to just 10 points. And, though the Browns had 330 yards, 114 of those came on 2 plays. There were a number of great individual efforts as well:
a) Vontaze Burfict –
With all respect to Luke Kuechly, I believe Burfict is the best LB in the NFL right now. On Sunday, Burfict had a forced fumble, which he returned for a TD, and added 15 more tackles to give him a league leading 118 tackles entering the bye week.
b) Vinnie Rey –
In just 3 starts, Rey now has 44 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 passes defensed and 1 interception. Those 44 tackles are 13 more than his career total (31) and rank him 5th on the team (with one more start, he will likely move into 2nd behind Burfict).
c) James Harrison –
With just 26 tackles and 2 sacks, Harrison’s year would have to be considered a disappointment so far, but Sunday was his most impactful game as a Bengals. It was Harrison’s impressive interception and highlight real TD return that sparked the Bengals from a 0-13 deficit to a 31-13 lead. Though the TD was nullified by an (iffy penalty), the Jim Brownesque run lit a fire under the crowd, and more importantly, the team, turning what looked like a devastating loss into a lopsided victory.
d) The Defensive Line –
On Sunday, the line contributed 3 sacks, 4 passes defensed and 7 QB hits. While the Browns did run for 102 rushing yards on just 19 carries (5.2 ypc), the 102 yards was the Bengals exact average, they gave up 0 yards to Campbell, and take away the one 43 yard run, and the line held Cleveland to just 59 yards on their other 18 carries (3.3 ypc).