The worst case scenario has become a reality for the Cincinnati Bengals.
After going down on Thursday night to an apparent knee injury, dominant defensive tackle Geno Atkins is said to have a torn right ACL. One of the most disruptive tackles in the NFL, Atkins’ 2013 campaign appears to be at an end.
— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) November 1, 2013
Atkins went down awkwardly on the knee in the second quarter, and was eventually carted off the field. Prior to his exit, the two-time All Pro defensive tackle spent a significant amount of time on the turf and was visibly upset throughout the process.
Before the ACL tear, Atkins had two tackles and a sack while playing against a porous Miami Dolphins offensive line.
Even with a deep defensive line, the Bengals aren’t going to be able to adequately replace Atkins. They have Devon Still, a 2012 second-rounder, and Brandon Thompson, a 2012 third-rounder, behind him on the depth chart at the three-technique, but the youngsters won’t come anywhere close to filling the void. Instead, nose tackle Domata Peko and ends Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson will have to pick up the slack.
The Bengals have all the makings off a serious Super Bowl contender this season. Atkins falling to an ACL tear, however, could be a crippling loss for a defense that was already doing its best to overcome numerous injuries.
Following their overtime loss to the Dolphins, the Bengals are now 6-3 on the season. Luckily for them, they have an extended 10-day week to prepare for a Week 10 showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.
One way or another, the Bengals better get used to life without No. 97.