Defense leads the way for Bengals


Any given Sunday, that’s all you can say after week eight. What a horrendous loss to the Jets, a game in which few Bengals played well. But reality is that the Bengals are still 5-3. If you would have told me this before week one, I would have been ecstatic. Many people are praising the electric combo of franchise QB Joe Burrow and his college teammate lottery pick WR Ja’marr Chase and rightfully so. But we are simply lying to ourselves if we think the offense is to thank for our winning record so far this season. (Yes, we strive for winning records in Cincinnati) But the Bengals defensive improvements this season have been astronomical. Home grown players have become talented leaders, and the expensive free agent newcomers have been the missing piece to complete this squad.

Bengals defense underestimated in fantasy football rankings
2020 Bengals defense in big week 15 upset over first-place Pittsburgh Steelers

Let’s get started with some of the familiar faces that have had previous seasons with the Bengals. There is a long list of guys in this category who are performing well. Jessie Bates III, Sam Hubbard, Logan Wilson, Vonn Bell, and DJ Reader are the most notable. Some of these guys have grinded through the dog days of being a bottom tier NFL team. Now they have the closest to a complete team that they have ever had in the orange and black stripes and it shows. The improvement and leadership from these guys have been the main contributions to the franchise’s early success in the 2021 season so far.

Buccaneers Free Agent Spotlight: DE, Trey Hendrickson - Bucs Nation
Trey Hendrickson with his former team (Saints). The Bengals signed him to a four year $60 million contract last offseason.

Bengals fans are already very familiar with all of the guys mentioned above. But several newcomers have quickly put themselves on the radar with their outstanding play. This group includes Larry Ogunjobi, Trey Hendrickson, Mike Hilton, and Chidobe Awuzie. All of these guys were drafted in 2017, but are in their rookie season in Cincinnati. It’s safe to say that they have shown up and were worth the money. Through just eight games Trey Hendrickson has 7.5 sacks. Awuzie and Hilton are making life miserable for opposing wideouts. And Ogunjobi is a brick wall on the defensive line. All of these guys seem like the missing piece to the puzzle so far for this franchise.


Bengals will reportedly keep Lou Anarumo for 2021 season - Cincy Jungle
Bengals Defensive Coordinator, Lou Anarumo


Next, the Browns will visit Paul Brown Stadium to face the Bengals in week 9. The Bengals defense will look to pick it back up after a let down game against the Jets. The Browns have an explosive  running game and it will be a tough test for this team. However, Baker Mayfield is nursing a shoulder injury and playing through it. The Bengals should be able to take advantage of that a little bit and it will help beat this tough Cleveland team. All I know is that Lou Anarumo, Bengals Defensive Coordinator,  must come out with a better defensive game plan than the one he had against the Jets. We have seen many times this year that they are capable of being great. A great defense will lead to a postseason run for the Bengals this season.