Bengals looking for more from run-down defense
September 30, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
Through the first 10 weeks of last season, the Cincinnati Bengals owned the No. 2 rushing defense in the NFL, allowing 86.8 yards per game.
During that span, the Bengals allowed just one 100-yard rusher when Denver’s Willis McGahee went for 101 in the second game of the season.
But over the last five games – the final two of 2011 and the first three this year – Cincinnati has allowed three 100-yard rushers while surrendering a staggering 174.8 yards per game on the ground.
And today in Jacksonville, they have to contend with Maurice Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing last year (1,606 yards) and ranks second this season (314).
“Maurice Jones-Drew is as good a back as there is in the league,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said of the 5-foot-7, 206-pound fireplug.
“He’s short and a squat runner,” added Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week. “He’s tough to bring down. He runs behind his pads. We’re going to have to go out there and tackle with our arms and run to the football.”
Jones-Drew, who got off to a slow start this season after missing all of training camp and the preseason in a contract dispute, exploded for a 177 yards last week at Indianapolis.