Former Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green wasn’t the only former SEC player to have a huge game in the Cincinnati Bengals’ 22-7 win over the Miami Dolphins last Thursday night.
While Green was shredding the Dolphins’ secondary for 10 catches and 173 yards, the defensive line also excelled, led by former Florida Gators end Carlos Dunlap and former Georgia Bulldogs tackle Geno Atkins. Each was instrumental in harassing Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill most of the night.
“Those boys are animals,” said safety George Iloka, as per bengals.com. (Defensive coordinator) Paulie (Guenther) says that all the time. It starts with the d-line. He doesn’t say it because it sounds cool. We go as far as they take us. When they play how they usually play, it makes the job easier for the rest of us.”
Miami could not get much going offensively, gaining only 62 yards on the ground. Tannehill was sacked five times. Dunlap finished with two sacks, two pass deflections, a tackle for loss, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble. Atkins had 1.5 sacks, three quarterback hits, and a tackle for loss.
Dunlap, the Bengals’ second-round pick in the 2010 draft, has picked up right where he left off last season after leading the team in 2015 with 13.5 sacks. Before the team’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Dunlap told NBC’s Michele Tafoya he wanted to do more this season, and had his sights set on the NFL single-season sack record. Michael Strahan had 22.5 sacks in 2001.
Atkins has been a disruptive force in the middle of the Bengals’ defense since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2010. Since coming into the league, he has been a four-time Pro Bowl performer (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015) and a two-time first-team All-Pro (2012, 2015). He was named second-team All-Pro in 2011. In college at Georgia, he was a first-team All-SEC player in 2007.
Dunlap played in his first Pro Bowl last season with the Bengals. He played on the Gators’ national championship team in 2008. Dunlap also was a first-team All-SEC player in 2009.
Here are other former SEC greats who had outstanding performances in Week 4 of the NFL season.
Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons: In the 48-33 win over the New Orleans Saints, the former Alabama star caught 12 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown. His performance came a week after one catch in a win over New Orleans.
T.J. Yeldon, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars: Yeldon, who was the Jaguars’ second-round pick in 2015 out of Alabama, had 71 yards on 14 carries and caught four passes for 46 yards to finish with 117 yards from scrimmage in a 30-27 win over Indianapolis in London.
Matt Jones, running back, Washington Redskins: Jones, the former Florida running back, had 117 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown in the Redskins’ 31-20 win over Cleveland. Jones was a third-round pick in the 2015 draft.
Keanu Neal, safety, Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons’ first-round pick out of Florida had nine tackles, six of them solo, in a 48-33 win over Carolina. Neal, a standout safety for the Gators, led his team in tackles.
C.J. Mosley, linebacker, Baltimore Ravens: Mosley led the Ravens with nine tackles, seven solo, in a 28-27 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Mosley was the SEC defensive player of the year in 2013 for Alabama and a first-round pick in 2014.
Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron, linebackers, Los Angeles Rams: Ogletree and Barron each had seven tackles to lead the Rams’ defensive charge in a 17-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals on the road. Ogletree was a standout linebacker at Georgia and a first-round pick in 2013. Barron was drafted out of Alabama as a safety by Tampa Bay in the first round in 2012 and converted to linebacker when he was signed by the Rams in 2014.
Mark Ingram, running back, New Orleans Saints: Ingram, the 2010 Heisman winner out of Alabama and a first-round pick of the Saints in 2011, led New Orleans in rushing and receiving and accounted for 105 yards in total offense in the Saints’ 35-34 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Dak Prescott, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys: Yet again, the former Mississippi State standout led the Dallas Cowboys to victory. Prescott, who is replacing an injured Tony Romo in the lineup, threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 24-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers.
Jordan Reed, tight end, Washington Redskins: The former Florida tight end was Kirk Cousins’ top target in Washington’s 31-20 win over Cleveland. Reed caught nine passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Reed was taken in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.