Behind enemy lines: Bengals woeful D getting healthy

Behind enemy lines: Bengals woeful D getting healthy
September 20, 2012, 9:49 pm

Checking out the top headlines, news and notes involving the Marvin Lewis coached Cincinnati Bengals, the Redskinds Week 3 opponent... No doubt the Redskins defense has been less than advertised unless giving up 31.5 points and 405 yards per game is suddenly a good thing (even with the replacement refs, it'snot). Cincinnati's has been worse, not even close to performing like the unit that spearheaded last season's playoff push. After allowing 400 yards in a game twice last season, the Bengals surrendered over 400 in each of their first two games.However, while the locals lost two starters in Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, the Bengals expect to have an injuredpass rusher return to the fray. Carlos Dunlap, the Bengals starting left defensive end, was a full participant in Wednesday's practice, puttinghimon track to make his 2012 debut Sunday. The third-year pass rusher, who has 14 sacks in 24 career games,sprained his right knee in Cincinnati's preseason opener. While the Bengals tallied five sacks without Dunlap, they also allowed 35.5 points and 434.5 yardswithout picking off a pass. Corner Dre Kirkpatrick, the Bengals first-round pick out of Alabama, is the only notable Cincinnati defender already ruled out of Sunday's meeting. All those yards allowed by the Bengals, not just about a handful plays; so far Cincinnati has given up 10 or more yards on 37 plays, according to the Associated Press. First downs have been a particular downer, allowing a league-high8.36 per play. After allowing only one 300-yard passing game last season, the Bengals pass defense ranks 29th, one spot ahead of the Redskins.As a reminder, last week the Bengals faced Cleveland's rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden who went from being overmatched and throwing four picksin the opener to passing for 322 yards, two touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his second NFL game. More than one person in my vicinity uttered the following on Sunday while catching the Bengals running a punt back for a touchdown against the Browns: "Pacman is still in the league?"Apparently so. Adam "Pacman" Jones returned the first punt he fielded 81 yards for a touchdown, the fifth of his career and first in Cincinnati. That was enough to gobble up AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors -and surely added another concern toa Redskins unit already under punt blocking durres.With that lengthy play on their side, the Bengals rank second in punt returns while the Redskins are 28th (6.2 YPR). Running back Bernard Scott is also expected to make his season debut and provide the offense with a change of pace and pass-catching option behind starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis.