The Cincinnati Bengals suffered a pretty humiliating defeat on Thursday night as they fell to the Miami Dolphins 22-20 in overtime. Any time you lose a game on the road thanks to a safety, it’s pretty fair to say it will be a rough flight home. But things just got even worse after the game.
Bengals All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins left the game with a knee injury and team officials are saying he tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Head coach Marvin Lewis later confirmed those reports.
Atkins went down awkwardly on his right knee and was limping severely before being carted off the field in the second quarter. He had two tackles and a sack in the game before leaving.
The 25-year-old Atkins has developed into one of the NFL’s best defensive lineman, and was an All-Pro in each of the past two seasons. In September he inked a new six-year, $56.423 million extension, with $31 million in guaranteed money. In nine games this season, Atkins had 20 tackles and six sacks despite facing near-constant double teams.
Atkins is one of Cincinnati’s biggest stars and losing him will be a serious blow. The fourth-year man out of Georgia had become a leader on and off the field and without him the Bengals will have a serious hole to fill up front.
Second-year tackle Brandon Thompson is sure to see an expanded role in the team’s defense.
The Bengals are currently 6-3 and have a big lead in the AFC North, but again, losing Atkins will hurt both on the field and in the locker room. The team’s leaders need to step up and rally the rest of the roster.