2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bengals' special teams key part of surge

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-18 16:05

CINCINNATI (AP) - Linebacker James Harrison was asked if he'd ever had a moment like the one safety Tony Dye was celebrating.

''Who?'' Harrison said.

A reporter pointed across the locker room to a young player getting interviewed.

''No. 44?'' Harrison said.

Yeah, that guy. The one that returned a blocked punt for a touchdown in his first game in the NFL, getting to be a big part of the biggest quarter in Bengals history. And just the latest out-of-the-spotlight player to contribute to Cincinnati's rise as undisputed AFC North leader.

It's been a special season in Cincinnati.

The Bengals (7-4) have taken control of their division by turning into a complete team this year. The defense is among the best in the league, the offense among its most diversified, and the special teams are doing things not seen in Cincinnati for many years.

''I've never had that happen,'' Harrison said, getting back to Dye's first-game touchdown. ''I've never had that type of impact on a game coming out.''

And Dye isn't alone.

Rookies galore played a big role in Cincinnati's 41-20 victory over Cleveland on Sunday that left the Bengals with a 2 1/2-game lead in their division heading into a bye week. They fell behind 13-0 in the first quarter, then scored a club-record 31 points in the second quarter, with special teams leading the way.

Rookie Shawn Williams, a third-round draft pick, partially blocked Spencer Lanning's punt, which went only 9 yards and gave the Bengals possession at the Cleveland 38-yard line. That set up Andy Dalton's touchdown pass.

Jayson DiManche, an undrafted rookie from Southern Illinois, blocked another of Lanning's punts, and Dye returned it 24 yards for a touchdown in his first NFL game. Dye, an undrafted free agent from UCLA, missed last season with an injury and was promoted off the practice squad Saturday with safety Chris Crocker injured.

''Whenever I call a rush or call something for when they're coming, they get the opportunity to go affect the game in a big way,'' special teams coach Darrin Simmons said. ''Sometimes Jayson DiManche and Shawn Williams, they don't have that opportunity except for in that role. Their sense of urgency gets ratcheted up pretty good.''

Those two plays by low-profile rookies changed the game.

''Other guys see that and it picks them up,'' Dye said. ''The punt block before that by Shawn Williams was a game-changing play. When he blocked that punt, you could see the energy go up. Here comes Jayson with the second blocked punt, and I was able to pick it up and score a touchdown.

''You can feel the energy on the sideline.''

It wasn't a fluke. The Bengals have blocked three kicks this season, the first time they've done that since 1991. And their special teams have been clutch in the biggest moments. Mike Nugent has two winning field goals, and punter Kevin Huber helped them hold on for a 13-6 win over New England by kicking the ball 57 yards into a storm.

Huber also had a 66-yard punt on Sunday against the Browns. He is tied for sixth in the NFL with 21 punts inside the 20-yard line.

The Bengals have put a lot of thought into special teams while building their roster the last few years.

''Some people take special teams for a joke, but over here, special teams is just as important as the starters on offense and defense,'' cornerback Adam ''Pacman'' Jones said.

NOTES: Coach Marvin Lewis expects to have several injured players back after the bye week. S Chris Crocker (hamstring) and RG Kevin Zeitler (foot) were inactive for Sunday's game. MLB Rey Maualuga has missed the last three with an injured left knee. ... DE Michael Johnson said Monday he got some critical tweets for questioning why fans at Paul Brown Stadium booed the Bengals during their ugly first quarter on Sunday. ''But that is expected anytime you have something to say,'' Johnson said. ''Some people are going to agree, some people are going to disagree.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group