Bengals Defense Looks Better With Burfict In The House

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Vontaze Burfict made his season debut on Thursday Night Football. The performance wasn’t great. But, It was just enough to help the Bengals defense.

The Cincinnati Bengals took care of business Thursday night. Under the bright lights of primetime, Cincinnati was able to slip past the Miami Dolphins 22-7. The game was a must-win for both teams as they tried to stay alive in their divisions. Momentum was on the Bengals side, with the return of their emotional leader. Vontaze Burfict was in the house and helped settle the defense.

Anticipation had been building for the Nike Color Rush game, since its offseason announcement. But, the wait wasn’t to see the uniforms each team would be wearing. The build up of emotions was for King Tez. For three weeks, Burfict wasn’t on the field to give his fiery support to Bengals teammates. But, he quickly got the fire pumping. His presence was just what Paul Guenther’s unit needed. 

Burfict was a shot in the arm, for a struggling defense. After the Bengals moved effortlessly down the field to score, it looked like the game would be a cakewalk. But, the Dolphins answered quickly. Ryan Tannehill connected with Kenny Stills for a 74-yard touchdown bomb. It looked like a repeat of Week 3 was in the works. 

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It was the fifth pass of over 40 yards in the past three weeks. Last year, the defense surrendered a mere total of six.

The TD to Stills came against George Iloka. But, it was actually a play that Stills broke off and took to the outside. Iloka was looking for help that he didn’t get. The long bomb was the only time Miami would cross the goal line.

Burfict Is Back

Burfict was eased back into the rotation. He played the majority of the snaps but ended the night with three tackles and a defensed pass. It wasn’t about the insane, slobbering madness that some fans anticipated. Burfict was able to put his teammates into positions to make the plays necessary. His passion could be seen in the actions of other Bengals players. 

Vontaze looked good—on a short week—but he knows his best games are on the way.

"“I felt I could have done more, but the coaches had a plan for me and switched me in and out with Vinny and Karlos and they did a good job of that. At the end of the game, I started to feel my wind catching up, but every game I’ll feel like I’ll get better and better and get my legs up under me.”"

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Burfict had no personal fouls called against him. He was the glue that helped the Bengals’ defense calm down and play like the top-tier unit they are.

Yes, the game should have been a complete blowout. But, with Vontaze Burfict back, the defense will help Cincinnati win more games like Thursday’s. It’s all about the end result…not the style.