Bengals pound out a statement

Bengals pound out a statement
October 7, 2013, 9:45 am
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(Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

Not all wins are created equal. When you beat Tom Brady and the Patriots, it means more. So, with Sunday’s 13-6 victory over previously undefeated New England, the Bengals made one of those statements you often hear about teams wanting/needing to make.

“The Bengals defense has never looked better, Brady has never looked more mortal and, just like that, Cincinnati has thrust itself back into the big-boy conversation,” the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty wrote.

Before the season, the Bengals frequently were named among the AFC teams to watch by the NFL pundits. The reason was their defense. On Sunday, that defense dialed up by coordinator Mike Zimmer showed itself just as formidable as advertised.

The Bengals limited Brady to an 18-of-38 day and ended his touchdown-pass streak at 52 games. They did what lots of teams say they’re going to do — hit Brady early and often — but that usually doesn’t work out.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins sacked Brady on the game’s second play, one of four sacks Cincinnati would have on Sunday.

“We showed them from the second play that we ain’t going to mess around today,’’ fellow tackle Domata Peko said. “After that, he was a little shaky in the pocket. We hit him all day. When you do that, they make mistakes.’’

“It definitely set the tone for the day,’’ defensive line coach Jay Hayes said, “that we were going to hit him as much as we could.’’

For the Bengals, the question now is whether they have set a tone for the rest of the season. Four of their next five games are on the road, ending with a Nov. 10 date in Baltimore. The AFC North, with the Ravens, Bengals and Browns tied atop at 3-2, still has lots of shaking out to do.