Going into their last game against the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals had been waiting for someone new to step up. And it was on that day they found not just one person but instead the two pieces that carry teams to championships. A ferocious Special Teams and a ball hawking defensive unit.
The Bengals intercepted Jason Campbell three times in the win, and one would have been a pick six from former Steeler James Harrison had there not been a penalty on the return. However it didn’t matter as Dalton found Gresham for a 25 yard score just after.
While the defensive performance put out by Cincinnati carried an up and down offensive day, that secondary piece of the formula really sealed the deal. After a blocked pint allowed the Bengals to score on a short field, lightning would strike twice the next drive. On a 4th-and-6 from Cleveland’s own 47, Jayson DiManche, an undrafted rookie from Southern Illinois, blocked the punt and Tony Dye returned it 24 yards for a touchdown in his first NFL game. Dye, an undrafted free agent from UCLA, missed last season with an injury and had just been promoted from the practice squad Saturday with safety Chris Crocker injured.
”Other guys see that and it picks them up,” Dye said. ”The punt block before that by Shawn Williams was a game-changing play. When he blocked that punt, you could see the energy go up. Here comes Jayson with the second blocked punt, and I was able to pick it up and score a touchdown.
The energy in the stadium while each big play happened was as great as Cincinnati has seen all season. After an extremely slow start Cincinnati hit the locker room with a 31-13 lead, scoring all of there 31 first half points in the second quarter.