You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Atkins leads Bengals' rush 'D' into playoffs

The Cincinnati Bengals defensive front teed-off on opposing quarterbacks like Tiger Woods at a driving range, posting 51 sacks during the regular season. The unit created a statistical threshold in the season finale against Baltimore by breaking the team’s season sack record of 48 set in 2001.

Defensive tackle Geno Atkins led the way with 12 1/2 sacks, the most for a Bengals interior lineman in club history.

“It meant a lot for us to break the record,” Atkins said. “It means we’re working as a unit and everybody is involved in making plays. We have a lot of guys contributing and it has been a defensive team effort throughout the season.”

The 6-foot-1, 300-pound wrecking ball has been dominant rushing the passer, recording 20 sacks as a two-year starter. He’s totaled 116 tackles, 23 sacks and six forced fumbles in three seasons with the Bengals.  Atkins is considered undersized by NFL standards but plays with great strength, quickness, power and leverage. He’s been a beast in the middle of a rambunctious defensive line.

Cincinnati may have rolled the dice selecting Atkins in fourth round of 2010 NFL draft out of the University of Georgia, but the gamble appears to be paying off with his game evolving.

“I reevaluate everything I’ve done after each season and think of the things I can do to get better,” he said. “It’s important for me to improve my game and still focus on the little thing I do well. I still watch film on guys like Warren Sapp and John Randle to see how they rushed the passer. I watch them to see how I can put it to use in my game rushing the passer.”

Atkins was elected to his second Pro Bowl this season and humbled by the fact, but he is eyeing a much bigger prize.

The Bengals are in the playoffs and will travel to Houston for a wild-card showdown with the Texans on Saturday. The two hooked up under the same scenario last season and Houston recorded a lopsided 31-10 victory. The outcome could be much different this go-round with Cincinnati going in on a high.

“It feels good to be recognized by your peers, coaches and fans, but I’m hoping we go to the Super Bowl,” Atkins said. “Everybody’s record is zero in the playoffs and I like our chances. We won seven of our last eight games and feel we have momentum in our court. We wanted to finish out the regular season strong and carry that momentum into the playoffs.

“We have a hard road ahead of us no matter who we play, but this team has heart and believe. We’re not going to make it easy for anyone and we’re ready to make that journey.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

New York bowler rolls perfect game in 86.9 seconds
New York bowler rolls perfect game in 86.9 seconds

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Bowling a perfect game is difficult, but rolling a 300 game in less than 90 seconds is mind-boggling. >> Read more trending news Ben Ketola of Preble, New York, rolled 12 consecutive strikes at 281 Bowl in Cortland on April 5, racing from lane to lane and finishing in 86.9 seconds, reported. The 23-year-old...
1876 documents that launched MLB headed for auction
1876 documents that launched MLB headed for auction

It could be called the Ten Commandments of Major League Baseball, even though it’s 74 pages long. Or perhaps, since it has just been discovered, it could be baseball’s version of the Dead Sea Scrolls. >> Read more trending news Regardless, the 1876 “Founding Documents and Original Constitution of Major League Baseball&rdquo...
Jalin Marshall on camp for kids in Middletown: ‘It warms my heart up”
Jalin Marshall on camp for kids in Middletown: ‘It warms my heart up”

Since joining the New York Jets last year, former Middletown star Jalin Marshall has read more letters than he anticipated. That’s because his former coach Troy Everhart prefers to write instead of calling or texting. “I guess he’s getting too old for cell phones, but I won’t tell him that,” Marshall said. Marshall will...
South Bend scores five in the eighth to top Dragons
South Bend scores five in the eighth to top Dragons

South Bend scored five runs in the eighth inning Sunday to rally for a 9-8 win over the Dayton Dragons. The Dragons bullpen — four different pitchers — surrendered seven runs on seven hits and three walks in two innings. Ryan Hendrix (1-1) took the loss. Dayton starter Scott Moss allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and 11 strikeouts...
Reds call up former Dayton Dragons pitcher; Mesoraco dings knee
Reds call up former Dayton Dragons pitcher; Mesoraco dings knee

The Reds optioned right-handed pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla to Triple-A Louisville before Sunday’s game. They recalled right-hander Ariel Hernandez from Double-A Pensacola, adding a fresh arm to a bullpen that was forced to cover seven innings on Saturday after left-hander Cody Reed lasted just two in his first start of the season. Bonilla threw...
More Stories