The Cincinnati Bengals obtained scorching late in 2021 and wound up in Tremendous Bowl LVI. And one of many group’s free-agent pickups final offseason was a serious cause why.
A 12 months after ending 4-11-1 throughout head coach Zac Taylor’s second season within the Queen Metropolis, the Cincinnati Bengals wound up again within the playoffs for the primary time since 2015. And because of a powerful postseason run, due to the franchise’s first postseason win since 1990, the group wound up making a 3rd Tremendous Bowl look and first since 1988.
Sure, Taylor’s membership couldn’t cease Rams’ vast receiver Cooper Kupp within the closing minutes of Tremendous Bowl LVI. Then once more, not many groups stopped the All-Professional wideout in 2021. However for these believing that the Bengals’ close to NFL title was only a recreation of pitch and catch between second-year quarterback Joe Burrow and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Yr Ja’Marr Chase, right here’s some meals for thought.
In 2020, the Cincinnati protection was ranked twenty sixth within the league in yards allowed. The membership allowed the fourth-most speeding yards within the NFL. And Taylor’s membership managed a paltry 17 sacks in 16 contests.
Enter free-agent defensive finish Trey Hendrickson, who loved a breakout 12 months with the Saints in ’20 by way of 13.5 sacks in 15 outings. The Bengals inked him to a profitable four-year, $60 million deal final offseason (by way of Spotrac). And he modified the mindset of Cincinnati’s entrance and arguably your entire protection.
Hendrickson performed in 16 video games and made 14 begins. There have been 34 tackles, a career-best 14 sacks and three pressured fumbles. He added 3.5 QB traps throughout Cincinnati’s four-game postseason run. And he was named to the Professional Bowl for the primary time. All advised, the Bengals improved to fifth within the NFL vs. the run and got here up with a formidable 42 sacks in 17 video games.
As we noticed within the second half of Tremendous Bowl LVI, protection nonetheless guidelines the day with regards to hoisting a Lombardi Trophy (see Aaron Donald and Von Miller within the Bengals’ backfield). Hendrickson led a harassing defensive unit that seemed to enhance its secondary this offseason. And people new defensive backs need to be pleased with this younger standout main the best way in entrance of them.