Linebackers Step Up
When youíre starting inside linebacker pairing earn a combined +5.4
grade, things tend to go well on defense. Sure Vince Williams
was limited to 29 snaps, but in their base package he combined extremely effectively with the superb Lawrence Timmons
to impact the Bengalsí ability to run the ball. Any hesitation from the Bengalsí linemen was pounced upon by Timmons especially, who was quick to dissect and attack the ball carrier, as evidenced by his tackle for a loss with 7.15 to go in the game as Mike Pollak spent a fraction too long helping out on a double team. Itís not been his most consistent year but Timmons can still produce the goods like few linebackers out there.
Engaged in a power struggle with Brandon Thompson
for most of the game David DeCastro (+4.0)
just about came out on top, though the strength of his grades owes more to the work he did against other players. In truth he and Thompson exchanged blows throughout, with Thompson looking the more powerful man when it came to holding his ground, while the athleticism of DeCastro saw him get the win when he was sealing off the Bengal. Others didnít have quite so much joy as DeCastro showed off his full repertoire, such as when he pulled to the second level and wiped out both Rey Maualuga and Wallace Gilberry with a cut block (Q2, 2.14) or when he took over a double team on Domata Peko and drove him downfield and to the ground (Q2, 5.06). For a line that has needed retooling for some time the play of 2012 first round pick DeCastro in his first full year has been a massive bonus, with only his recent form before this game taking the shine off a possible Pro Bowl year.