Updated: 2:45 p.m.
A day after being named to his second straight Pro Bowl, tackle Geno Atkins became the third lineman on the star-studded Bengals front to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Thursday.
In Sunday's 13-10 victory in Pittsburgh the Bengals needed to make the playoffs, Atkins was virtually unblockable working against the Steelers middle that included first-round pick David DeCastro at right guard and Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey. Atkins had two sacks and led the defensive line with eight tackles and a forced fumble while taking 63 percent of the snaps. The defense not only forced Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into two interceptions, one for Cincinnati's only touchdown, but held the Steelers to 95 yards rushing on 31 carries.
"It's been a big week," Atkins admitted. "To get the AFC Player of the Week and get named to the Pro Bowl in the same week is big."
Atkins's award gave the Bengals six of the league’s weekly or monthly AFC awards and ties for the most in franchise history in 1988 and 1989. Quarterback
Atkins, who leads all NFL interior linemen in sacks by a margin of 4.5 with 12.5, set a Bengals record for sacks by an interior lineman earlier this season when he passed the eight of Dan Wilkinson in 1996. Atkins also leads the Bengals in quarterback pressures (35), tackles-for-loss (13), and ranks tied for first in forced fumbles (four). He also has two passes defensed, and he is third on the line in tackles for the season (64).
Last season, Atkins tied for the NFL sacks lead among interior linemen with 7.5, and he was the first Bengals defensive lineman to make the Pro Bowl since nose tackle Tim Krumrie in 1988. His 23 sacks in 47 career games trail Krumrie's 34.5 in 188 games, which stand fifth on the Bengals all-time sack list.
ATTENDANCE REPORT: All Bengals were on the field for Thursday morning's practice but kicker
Head coach Marvin Lewis has moved Thursday's practice to 11 a.m., the past two weeks, a late-season move designed to get the players out of the facility earlier.