Ronald Darby, Antonio Gibson and the defensive ends were all crucial players in the Washington Football Team's 20-9 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Here's how they performed during the Week 11 matchup.
Game Ball No. 1: Cornerback Ronald Darby
Darby had a standout day at FedExField against the Bengals. As the team's No. 2 cornerback, Darby helped Washington hold the Bengals to 25 yards in the second half and and finished the day with six combined tackles and four pass breakups, which ties a career-high. Darby also became the third player in Washington history to compile four passes defensed and a fumble recovery in a game, and the first to do so since Josh Wilson in Week 3 of 2011.
One of his biggest plays came in the second quarter as Joe Burrow attempted a pass intended for A.J. Green on a 3rd-and-goal at Washington's three-yard line. Darby read the pass and got in between Green and the ball to force an incompletion. One play later, Darby recovered a fumble in the end zone to force a touchback.
Darby recognized that he was being targeted throughout the game, forcing him to play fast, reacting early and staying calm. "It just wakes you up. I kind of knew what kind of day it's going to be. I like to compete, so it made me lock in a lot more."
Check out photos of the Washington Football Team during its Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photos courtesy of Alexander Jonesi/NFL, Elijah Walter Griffin Sr/Washington Football Team and Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
Game Ball No. 2: Running back Antonio Gibson
Gibson was once again Washington's leading running back with 94 rushing yards on 16 carries. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry, rushed for 75 yards on nine attempts in the second half and three runs of at least 13 yards.
With help from a 42-yard run by Terry McLaurin, Washington worked its way down to the Bengals' one-yard line. Quarterback Alex Smith handed the ball off to Gibson, who ran into the end zone to finish the drive with his eighth score of the season. He is now tied with Charlie Brown and Skip Hicks for third-most total touchdowns and tied Hicks for second-most rushing touchdowns for a rookie in franchise history.
"There's a lot to the running back position that's new to me," Gibson said. "Each week, I'm learning. I keep saying that. It's just the beginning."
Game Ball No. 3: The Defensive Ends
It may have taken until the second half, but Washington's defensive ends finally got to the quarterback. Montez Sweat and Ryan Kerrigan picked up a sack, bringing their totals to 6.0 and 5.5, respectively, while James Smith-Williams picked up a half-sack with Jimmy Moreland.
Chase Young's stats don't always show his true impact, but the rookie clearly affected the game with a forced fumble and a pass breakup. After biting on a read-option play on 2nd-and-2, Young recorded a tackle for no gain. Four plays later, Young supplied the hit that knocked the ball free from Burrow's hands, which was later recovered for a touchback. He also nearly had his first interception on the Bengals' ensuing drive.
"I'll tell you, the thing about Chase is he played sideline-to-sideline," head Ron Rivera said after the game. "He gave you run and hustle and gave you everything he has. That's why he was able to come to the right side to get to the quarterback and make the play because of his great hustle.