The Cincinnati Bengals’ defense played a lot better in Week Three against the Redskins than it had in the first two games. The primary reason was the play of defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap.
Dunlap was coming back from a two-game absence due to a knee injury. His return sparked Cincinnati’s pass rush and Johnson capitalized on the other side, en route to a career-high three sacks for -17 yards. Johnson also had seven tackles, six of which were solo. The Bengals topped Washington 38-31.
It didn’t hurt that Johnson was teeing off on Redskins backup left tackle Jordan Black, of course. Starter Trent Williams suffered a bone bruise in his knee in the first quarter. Black is a 32-year-old journeyman who was out of football all last year.
But we suppose defensive ends can only beat the offensive linemen placed on front of them, and Johnson did that to Black. Since these player of the week awards are seemingly always given out based on box-score statistics, Johnson certainly earned it.
It will be interesting to see whether Johnson goes back to being a below-average pass rusher in Week Four and beyond.