Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader wants some respect put on his name.
Reader has consistently ranked as one of the Bengals’ top-performing players throughout 2021, and his presence in the defensive line has helped Cincy’s D stay elite all season.
Prior to the Divisional Round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, though, many doubted Reader and the Bengals’ D-line’s ability to contain rushing king Derrick Henry.
This was Henry’s first game since suffering an injury in Week 8, but more people believed in Henry’s resurgent dominance than the Bengals defense’s efficacy.
After Cincinnati thwarted Tennessee on Saturday, D.J. Reader wants all his haters to know that he took the criticism “personal.”
Some players try to block out the noise, but Reader heard it loud and clear, and he still rose above it. Reader had to play a near-perfect game to limit the Titans’ rushing attack, and he along with the rest of the interior defense stepped up in a huge way.
D.J. Reader doesn’t appreciate the shade thrown at Cincinnati Bengals’ defense
The Bengals limited the Titans to 140 rushing yards, with Derrick Henry recording 62 yards on 20 carries and scoring one rushing touchdown.
Reader finished the game with six total tackles and one quarterback hit and often stopped Henry and other Titans’ running backs from gaining crucial downs with his raw speed and athleticism.
Reader has exemplified a true leader in Cincy’s defense, whether it was keeping his teammates’ spirits up or dominating in the trenches.
He — as well as the rest of the Bengals team — is understandably upset that people keep undermining Cincinnati’s accomplishments so far, but after the road playoff win against Tennessee, Reader will finally get the respect he deserves.
Saturday’s matchups both favored the underdogs with the No. 1 seeds from each conference falling in the Divisional Round.
Underdogs no more, the Bengals will be legitimate Super Bowl contenders as they await the winner of the Bills-Chiefs game.
The culture change starts now.