CINCINNATI -- It was clear Sunday afternoon in Baltimore that the heat and humidity that sat inside M&T Bank Stadium got to several of the Cincinnati Bengals.
With temperatures hovering near the mid-80s and their bench in the sunlight the duration of the afternoon, the Bengals saw fatigue set in with multiple players a lot sooner than anticipated.
Defensive linemen and linebackers, on the field in the second half for more than 10 minutes longer than they were in the first half, were checking in and out regularly. Constantly they were tapping their helmets asking for a brief rest while they caught their breath and collected their thoughts.
Defensive end Wallace Gilberry was so out sorts after the hot and physical game that he had trouble putting into words how his two sacks on the final stand impacted the outcome of the game.
“I’m going to be honest with you, man. I don’t even remember the last series. I was just in a zone,” Gilberry said. “It was just about hunting and working. I’m so tired right now I can’t even think straight to give you an answer.”
By the end, the Bengals' defense had been on the field for 88 plays.
Gilberry played most of the second half, even shifting into Geno Atkins’ interior line position on the final drive after the Pro Bowl tackle left for the sideline. Minutes later, after the game ended, Atkins was carted into the tunnel and helped into the Bengals’ locker room. Coach Marvin Lewis wasn’t sure immediately after the game what happened to Atkins but said he believed he was simply dehydrated.
That probably was to be an expected ailment for Atkins, who appeared in only one preseason game due to his recovery from ACL surgery last year. He only played 13 snaps in the Week 3 preseason meeting at Arizona two weeks ago.
Safety Reggie Nelson said the team-wide conditioning issue is one that must get straightened out ahead of Sunday’s Week 2 home opener against the Falcons.
“We were blowing a little bit,” Nelson said. “Everybody saw that. We’ll come in Monday and make that happen.”
Keeping in mind how much the defense rotated personnel due to the conditions, here is this week’s snap-count breakdown:
OFFENSE (67 plays)*
C Russell Bodine (67), OG Kevin Zeitler, (67), OG Clint Boling (67), OT Andrew Whitworth (67), QB Andy Dalton (67), OT Andre Smith (65), WR A.J. Green (63), WR Mohamed Sanu (62), TE Jermaine Gresham (61), RB Giovani Bernard (58), WR Brandon Tate (41), H-back/TE Ryan Hewitt (11), RB Jeremy Hill (10), TE Alex Smith (9), TE Tyler Eifert (8), WR Dane Sanzenbacher (8), OT Marshall Newhouse (5), RB Cedric Peerman (1).
DEFENSE (88 plays)*
CB Terence Newman (88), S Reggie Nelson (88), S George Iloka (88), LB Emmanuel Lamur (87), DE Carlos Dunlap (76), CB Leon Hall (74), DE Wallace Gilberry (67), CB Adam Jones (64), LB Vincent Rey (62), DE Robert Geathers (57), DT Geno Atkins (49), DT Domata Peko (39), DT Brandon Thompson (33), LB Rey Maualuga (31), DE Margus Hunt (30), LB Vontaze Burfict (23), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (10), S Taylor Mays (2).
SPECIAL TEAMS (30 plays)**
LB Jayson DiManche (21), S Shawn Williams (21), Rey (21), LB Marquis Flowers (20), Mays (18), Peerman (18), Hunt (16), Kirkpatrick (14), K Mike Nugent (13), Alex Smith (10), Jones (10), Peko (10), P Kevin Huber (10), LS Clark Harris (10), Nelson (9), Tate (7), Whitworth (6), Boling (6), Zeitler (6), Newhouse (6), Andre Smith (6), Gresham (6), Hewitt (5), McCalebb (5), Newman (5), Lamur (5), Maualuga (5), Thompson (4), Dunlap (3), Hill (3), Sanzenbacher (2), Hall (2), Geathers (2), Iloka (1), Gilberry (1).
*Snap counts come from Pro Football Focus
**Snap counts come from the NFL Game Statistics & Information System.