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After an awful performance against the Carolina Panthers in which the defense allowed 230 yards rushing , the Cincinnati Bengals were much improved in this area against the Atlanta Falcons. The Bengals allowed 92 yards rushing, 26 of which came on the first drive. Preston Brown returned to the lineup at linebacker for the Bengals which certainly helped, but Geno Atkins and Andrew Billings really upped their game from their respective defensive tackle positions.On the play below, the Falcons are running a zone play to the right with right guard Brandon Fusco blocking Atkins, and Atkins is having none of it. Fusco gets no movement on Atkins who hold his ground in the B gap outside of the guard. As running back Tevin Coleman cuts into the A gap inside of the guard, Atkins quickly sheds Fusco and makes the tackle for a short gain. The Falcons are running zone to the right once again here with Fusco and center Alex Mack working a combo block. On this block, both will engage with Billings and based on how the defensive players move after the snap, one of them will stay on Billing and the other will work up Brown. The pair is initially able to push Billings back about a half of a yard, but as Mack releases for Brown Preston Brown Jersey , Billings makes short work of Fusco and grabs Coleman’s jersey, bringing him down with one hand.The Falcons are running zone to the left here, and Billings is lined up in the A gap to the offense’s right. Mack gives Billings a quick shot on his way up to the linebacker, and Fusco attempts to reach him. Billings holds his gap and does not allow himself to be reached. With Mack at the second level, Billings is essentially playing both A gaps. As Bengals defensive lineman Sam Hubbard (who is lined up as a defensive tackle on this play) defeats his block and shows in the B gap, Coleman cuts back, and Billings swallows him up.This time the Falcons attempt to reach Atkins on the front side of the outside zone. On the snap, he pushes the right guard two yards into the backfield. As running back Ito Smith approaches, Atkins shows color in the B gap and forces Smith to cut back drastically.In this clip Authentic Cordy Glenn Jersey , the Falcons are running zone to the right. Atkins is lined up on the backside and left tackle Jake Matthews attempts to get his head across Atkins’ body and cut him. Atkins dips his outside shoulder to prevent Matthews from crossing his body and tackles Coleman for a loss.The return of Brown certainly helped the Bengals run defense and the coming return of Vontaze Burfict will benefit the defense as well, but they also got improved play from the interior defensive line. Atkins and Billings really stepped up their game as did Hubbard who saw a lot of time on the interior this week following Ryan Glasgow’s injury.Bengals Bytes (10/4): Franchise records the Bengals are on track to reaching Defense Embraces Another 'Return Of Tez'On Monday Vontaze Burfict gave Marvin Lewis what Lewis says Burfict will give his team Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) against Miami in the Paul Brown Stadium Re-Opener after spending three of the first four games on the road.Notebook: Elastic Erickson; Simmons Says McRae RobbedThe subject is wide receiver Alex Erickson and after practice Wednesday Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons found himself quoting the late Pete Brown, the club’s senior vice president of player personnel.Quick Hits: Sunny Forecast For Mixon; Price Re-Boots; Tez ReturnsIn the most positive weather forecast since Channel 5’s Kevin Robinson riffed on the Cincinnati Labor Day weekend, head coach Marvin Lewis basically cleared running back Joe Mixon for the Bengals’ return to Paul Brown Stadium (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12) Sunday against the Dolphins.Are the Bengals a legitimate contender?I never thought I’d end up writing an article in response to a classic Stephen A. Smith tirade. The majority of hot takes that Stephen A. Smith spews on an almost daily basis are designed to catch the attention of other members of the media and sports fans in general. The intention is often to garner buzz on social media, rather than say anything of real substance. For that reason, it’s typically an ill-advised decision to place much importance on his comments. This time, he’s reeled me in and I’ve taken the bait.Cincinnati Bengals thrilled to have Vontaze Burfict backBurfict is coming off a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and he was limited in the preseason because of an ankle injury that prevented him from appearing in any games.Joe Mixon: Always part of the picture for BengalsComing off knee surgery two weeks ago, Joe Mixon didn’t make the trip to the Bengals game at Carolina. Watching from home didn’t sit well. So Youth Alex Redmond Jersey , when the Bengals headed to Atlanta this past week he made sure to let anyone who would listen know how much he wanted to make the trip.Opposing Player Spotlight: Week 5, Cincinnati BengalsThe Dolphins were flat out embarrassed by their divisional foes up in Foxborough last week, showing that Miami still has a ways to go before emerging as a top AFC contender. That game also brought injuries to the forefront of everyone’s mind in South Florida, as the Dolphins’ swath of absences due to injuries is beginning to take a toll on this team. When the Dolphins travel to Cincinnati this weekend, one player on the opposing team is sure to attempt to take advantage of Miami’s ailing secondary.Dolphins hope for better play in trenches against BengalsHe was talking about his offensive line, but the depiction also fits the defensive line. The Dolphins were dominated in the trenches in a 38-7 defeat, and to have a chance Sunday as one-touchdown underdogs at Cincinnati, they'll need significant improvement up front.Cincinnati Bengals offense tracking toward franchise recordsSunday marked an impressive first quarter of the season for Lazor’s new system. The Bengals rank fourth in points scored and in the top 12 in yards per play, rush and pass. They rank second in the NFL in red-zone efficiency and are fifth in third-down efficiency.Random BytesBleacher Report's Expert Consensus Week 5 NFL PicksOnly 46 percent of Las Vegas favorites have covered (compared to 52 percent in 2017) , and only 63 percent of favorites have won outright (compared to 70 percent in 2017). Meanwhile, more than 60 percent of games have been decided by one score (up from 47 percent in 2017), and only 16 percent of games have been decided by three or more scores (down from 27 percent in 2017).Schefter: Rob Gronkowski to Play Through Ankle Injury vs. Colts in Week 5According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, tight end Rob Gronkowski "is expected to be active" for the contest even though an ankle injury impacted his practice time leading up to the Week 5 matchup.Leonard Fournette Ruled out vs. Chiefs in Week 5 with Hamstring InjuryJacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced Wednesday that running back Leonard Fournette will not play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs due to a hamstring injury.1st-Round Rookie Report-Card Grades at NFL's Quarter MarkIt didn't take long to see all five first-round quarterbacks on the field. By the end of Week 3, rookie signal-callers selected within the top 32 had their welcome-to-the-league moments. Even though one passer hasn't started a game, he's played enough snaps for us to judge his development.New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman to play versus Indianapolis ColtsNew England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will make his 2018 season debut on Thursday vs. the Indianapolis Colts, per a league source, marking his return from a four-game suspension and the torn ACL that kept him out for the entire 2017 season.
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