The New York tabloids like to refer to the Giants as “Big Blue,” but this morning, quarterback Eli Manning is black and blue.
In Cincinnati’s stunning 31-13 win over New York, the Bengals nailed Manning 12 times (four sacks plus eight quarterback hits) while the Giants vaunted front four of Tuck, Pierre-Paul, Umenyiora, and Canty only got to Andy Dalton once (one QB hit and no sacks).
“They’ve got a good front – there’s no doubt,” said Michael Johnson. “They’re the Super Bowl champs. But we’re alright too.”
“They’ve earned the right to be considered one of the top D-lines in the league so when you’ve got those guys coming into your home, you want to play better than the competition,” said Wallace Gilberry. “We took pride in it and made it an issue to come out and get the job done up front.”
Gilberry had one of the four sacks as he stripped Manning of the ball and then recovered the fumble in the fourth quarter. After failing to record a sack for the first in 32 games last week against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the Bengals were determined to get his younger brother on the ground.
“Last week was embarrassing for us – not touching the quarterback,” said Johnson. “Today we played how we can play. We played almost to our full capability. We just have to continue to build on that every week. That’s how we’re supposed to play.”
“One of the chips we had for this week was to out-play their defensive line,” said Carlos Dunlap. “We knew we had the ability, but we just have to go out there and do it — don’t talk about it, be about it.”
Dunlap led the Bengals with 4.5 quarterback pressures, but all seven defensive linemen had impact plays. Robert Geathers, Geno Atkins, Wallace Gilberry, and Domata Peko also delivered hits on Eli Manning, and Michael Johnson deflected a pass that was intercepted by Pat Sims.
“It felt great to be back,” said Sims who played for the first time since the 11th game of last season. “I had fresh legs and I’m just thankful that coach gave me the opportunity to go out there and play.”
“When we get that rotation going and guys get in a groove and play how we know we can play, big things can happen,” said Johnson. “We were able to force a lot of turnovers today, that’s always good, and we just want to build on it.”
If the Bengals defensive lineman is as dominant as it was against the Giants, climbing back into playoff contention is a possibility.
“Beating the Super Bowl champs and doing it how we did it today – ain’t no telling what he can do if we can keep playing like this every week,” said Sims.
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