Dec 1, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) reacts after a turnover during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Bengals won 17-10. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The defense gave up 252 yards in the air and 4.4 ypc to Mathews, so they have certainly had better all-around days, but they forced 3 huge turnovers, 2 of which came deep in Bengals territory and kept the Chargers from scoring points.
Without the fumble forced by Iloka, the Chargers would have had 1st and 10 at the Bengals 18 and without the Kirkpatrick circus interception, the Chargers would have had 1st and 10 at the Bengals 30. Instead, the Bengals got the game winning TD off Kirkpatrick’s interception.
A mid-year free agent pick up in 2012 and a backup in 2013, Gilberry (6.5) is now 2nd on the team in sacks and just .5 off the team lead (Dunlap – 7.0). He may not get talked about much in the national (or even local) media, but he is a big reason this defense has barely lost a step with the loss of Atkins.