For a few seconds early in the second quarter, Derrick Henry showed the Cincinnati Bengals why he’s nicknamed “The King.”
The running back was sprinting to the end zone after catching a screen pass and although rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt forced the fumble, the Tennessee Titans scored after recovering the football in the end zone. It was Titans up 10-7.
Henry recorded 69 receiving yards in that play. The Bengals didn’t allow much else from #22.
Henry finished the game averaging a meager 2.2 yards per carry as Cincinnati’s defensive front dictated the game from beginning to finish.
The defensive tackles, led by D.J. Reader, were particularly impressive as they freed up ends and linebackers to make plays by occupying the Titans’ interior offensive linemen.
Play after play, they swarmed Henry with intensity and physicality.
#Bengals defense again taking the run defense task personal today.
Don’t know how it will turn out, but after every solid stop they are getting up with energy and excitement. They know exactly how much of it matters and how much of today is on their shoulders.
— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 27, 2022
Defensive end Sam Hubbard led the team with two of the defense’s four tackles for loss. The Bengals’ defensive effort is particularly impressive considering they had to overcome some terrible starting positions early in the game.
Two of the first three Titans’ offensive drives started at their own 40-yard line or better.
Lou Anarumo’s unit stepped up in key situations, holding the Titans 0-of-3 in the red zone and 7-of-16 on third down.
Forever underrated, this Bengals’ defense continues to remind the NFL how important it was for last year’s Super Bowl run.
Joe Burrow was the main character, naturally. But he couldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the high-caliber defense playing on the other side of the ball.
Possibly as a reward for their good play, the Bengals’ defense caught a break at the end of the game.
As they got ready to hold off one last drive from Ryan Tannehill to potentially put together a comeback, a Titans’ personal foul allowed Cincinnati’s offense to stay on the field to kill the clock.
Moving forward, the Bengals’ defense should be talked about as one of the best in the league.