Watching the Cincinnati Bengals defensive line on tape has been impressive all season long. Seeing them live for the first time Sunday was even more so.
They have a ton of talent.
"We're eight deep," defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. "We roll them through."
Dunlap, who had two sacks against the Titans, might be the most impressive of the group. He is a big, fast, aggressive pass rusher.
He has only three sacks on the season, but he's been around the quarterback a lot. He did suffer a hamstring injury on the final play against the Titans, but he said he expects to play this week against the Steelers.
The Bengals are first in the league in yards-per-rush, which is how they put pressure on the opposing offense.
Another rising player: Defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
"We're young and we're getting better," Dunlap said. "We know we have talent, and we know we have a chance to be a good front.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has his unit playing great football. It's time Zimmer gets some head-coaching consideration.
---As one of his teammates said, you can't spell elite without Eli.
For years, Eli Manning has taken an endless stream of criticism. Even after winning a Super Bowl, becoming the first quarterback in Super Bowl history to drive his team to two fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdowns, Manning still didn't get his due.
They said he throws too many interceptions. That he was too nonchalant.
That's why Manning claim this summer that he was an elite quarterback was met with so much shock.
Is Eli Manning elite?
Not Peyton Manning-Tom Brady elite. But he's up there in the top-10.
Manning is having a great season in leading the Giants to a 6-2 record. He has 15 touchdown passes and six interceptions. He's thrown for 2,377 yards. More impressive is that he leads the NFL in fourth-quarter passing. Manning has eight touchdown passes and two interceptions and a passer rating of 122.7 in the fourth quarter.
That shows him to be a clutch performer.
The Giants' schedule is tough the next month, starting this week at San Francisco, but Manning has proven a lot of critics wrong during his career.
He might not be Peyton good, but he's showing that elite might not be that far off.
----You have to give Joe Flacco a ton of credit for driving the Ravens 92 yards in the final minutes to beat the Steelers. After his fumble led to the Steelers' go-ahead score, how many people in Baltimore were cursing Flacco? That was a big-time drive that could be what helps turn Flacco into a top-tier quarterback.
---Speaking of that drive, what the heck were the Steelers doing? Why were they in man coverage on the outside when the Ravens needed a touchdown and a field goal did them no good? Dick LeBeau is one of the best coordinators ever, but he blew it there. One more thing: Where was James Harrison on that drive?
---Didn't like seeing Ray Rice sidestep a leaping Harrison when he was attempting to block him. That makes Rice look soft.
---Memo to teams facing the Cardinals: Don't kick to Patrick Peterson. He has three punt returns for touchdowns, including one for 99 yards to beat the Rams in overtime Sunday. Peterson is the first NFL rookie to have three punt returns for touchdowns in his first eight games.
---How do you stop Aaron Rodgers? You don't. The man is having the best season ever for a quarterback after eight weeks. Rodgers has passed for 2,619 yards and 24 touchdowns, making him the first player in NFL history with at least 2,600 yards and 24 touchdowns through a team’s first eight games. He has a chance to take down a lot of passing records. Brett who?
---The New England Patriots better improve that defense or they will be in big trouble come playoff time. They are 32nd in the league, which is last. They are also last in pass defense. Even Tom Brady can't overcome that.
---Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow made two nice throws for touchdowns. But he can't make a living rushing for over 100 yards. This is the NFL, son. You make your living in the pocket or you won't be around long.
---Was the Carson Palmer trade a flop for the Raiders? So far, you'd have to say yes. But Thursday's game at San Diego is the real litmus test. Palmer has to play well -- or the Raiders will be taking a ton of heat for the deal.
---In the weekly what-does-Peyton-Manning-mean-to-th
e-Colts item, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney didn't have a sack between them against the Falcons. That's what happens when you don't play with the lead.
---Is Antonio Gates old and fat? Well, he's older and he's fatter. So the anonymous quote about him is right. But he's also still productive. Gates is still a threat in the passing game, just not as good a threat as he once was.