AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


After spending an excess in resources to shore up the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals are finally starting to see a return on their investment. Bengals HC Zac Taylor has seen a noticeable difference in his defense and is happy with the results.

They’re playing violently. They’re playing aggressive. They’re playing detailed. They’re not giving up anything easy,” Taylor said, via “Even the throws that are out in space, the short throws underneath, I mean you see four guys rallying to get the ball carrier. That part has been really encouraging, really impressive. We’re going to need that going forward. It’s good for everybody on our team to see that. The offensive guys often times are doing their thing, so we make sure that they see that yeah, there’s a lot of things we need to clean up, and we make sure everyone’s aware of that. But there’s also a lot of good things going on that we can continue to build on over the course of this long season.”

Bengals DE Trey Hendrickson has been a big part of the Bengals revamped defense, as is DT Larry Ogunjobi. The two faced off against each other in college, when Hendrickson noticed he was a dominant force along the interior of the defensive line.

He’s electric. Super talented. I’ve been fortunate to have followed his career,” said Hendrickson said. “He was in Conference USA for our entire careers. Larry’s a great football player. When he came to the Dome in New Orleans he was a wrecking ball as well. I look forward to playing beside him.


The hallmark of the Ravens’ defense the past few seasons under DC Don Martindale has been their love for the blitz. However, that formula hasn’t worked against the Chiefs the past few seasons so Martindale changed it up in Sunday night’s win, blitzing Kansas City less than 20 percent of the time after being in the 40-50 percent range the past two seasons. 

“Our defensive coaches, starting with Don Martindale, came up with a tremendous game plan,” Ravens HC John Harbaugh said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “I talked about the offensive game plan; the defensive game plan was just as good. There were some things (the Chiefs) hadn’t seen before, certainly not from us. Many things they hadn’t seen from us that our players executed well.”


  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said QB Ben Roethlisberger has a pec injury, while OLB Alex Highsmith has a groin injury. (Ed Bouchette)
  • Tomlin mentioned he was not thrilled about how much contact Roethlisberger took in Week 2: “Yeah. He did. He took too many hits.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Tomlin added he’s not worried about first-round RB Najee Harris: “I’m expecting him to get routinely better with each outing.” (Pryor)
  • Tomlin gave another update on WR Diontae Johnson‘s injured knee: “Looking better, not to be confused with great.” (Pryor)

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