Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) is tackled by St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long (91) and middle linebacker James Laurinaitis (right) in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Throughout the 2015 NFL season, the league has been referred to as “a league of attrition.” To sum it up, in order to be the most dominant team in the league, it is essential to be able to overcome injuries down the stretch. Being able to overcome injuries by assembling a talented, deep roster can help teams, healthy or unhealthy, stay in the mix. In many cases, injuries have crippled teams to a below-par record thus far in the season. However, by this point in any season, there are a number of teams whose seasons are essentially over. For those teams and their fans, there is nothing to do but look forward to next season.
A year ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were devastated by injury, but in 2015, things have been looking up. Cincinnati’s training staff has been very attentive about keeping the players healthy, and Marvin Lewis’ revamped practice schedule has also played a big part in the team’s health.
The Bengals defeated the St. Louis Rams 31-7 on Sunday. Additionally, the Bengals escaped the threat of any serious injuries against a scrappy Rams team that had previously injured the other three starting quarterbacks in the AFC North, though the players who made the tackles did not seem to be targeting those players who were coincidentally injured.
Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth took his weekly veteran’s day of rest on Wednesday.
Midway through the third quarter in Sunday’s matchup against the Rams, Andy Dalton completed a short pass to Giovani Bernard who quickly turned it up field for a 45-yard gain. Bernard fumbled while being tackled, and Tyler Eifert dove in to recover the fumble.
Unfortunately, Eifert left the game after pinching a nerve in his neck on the recovery, and with a 10-point lead, the Bengals took caution by keeping him out for the rest of the game.
Shortly after, in the fourth quarter, Jeremy Hill left the game with an ankle injury. The team also took precautionary measures with the running back, keeping Hill off the field for the rest of the game. Hill has had full participation in practice, but Eifert has not. Eifert’s status for Sunday’s divisional matchup is uncertain, and while the tight end’s stinger could be a serious issue of concern, it’s hard to speculate as of now.
More from Stripe Hype
- 6 Bengals whose stock significantly rose in preseason game vs Cardinals
- 7 winners and 7 losers from Bengals preseason opener vs. Cardinals
- Jackson Carman winning LG job isn’t a given after Bengals preseason opener
- How to watch the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022
- Denzel Ward wants to flex on Bengals WRs in 2022
The Bengals secondary has been the position group most impacted by injuries in the past couple of weeks. The team
after he suffered a shoulder injury against the Arizona Cardinals. Dennard had started in place of
, who returned a week later against the Rams and played through a foot injury that has been nagging him. Jones has not participated in practice, but is expected to return to start again on Sunday.
Leon Hall, who returned an interception for a touchdown to seal the game in an award-winning performance against the Rams, has not practiced this week due to a back injury. His status is uncertain this week as he has yet to practice. To add fuel to the fire, safety George Iloka has been limited this week while nursing a groin injury and Chris Lewis-Harris has not participated due to a rib injury that was sustained during the victory against the Rams.
Vontaze Burfict has been a difference-maker for this defense since he returned in Week 8. Burfict’s return sparked a defensive rally that has helped Cincinnati become the NFL’s best scoring defense. On Sunday, he left the game with an apparent knee injury, and the Bengals took caution by keeping him out of the game the same way they did with Eifert and Hill. Burfict is expected to have full participation in practice and be full go for Cleveland. Fellow linebacker Emmanuel Lamur suffered an ankle injury against the Rams and has yet to return to practice this week.
This Sunday, the Bengals will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns who are facing their own injury catastrophes after losing quarterback Josh McCown to a season-ending collarbone injury during their Monday night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals are in prime position to earn a bye during the first week of the playoffs and advance to a 10-2 record on the season with a win over a worn-down Browns team. Certainly the Bengals will look to escape with a win, but perhaps most important will be staying healthy down the stretch.