Zim's top five games

Posted Jan 15, 2014

The top five games in former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's 100-game reign.

The top five games in former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's 100-game reign:

1) Oct. 11, 2009 at Baltimore - Bengals 17, Ravens 14: On Thursday night after practice, Zimmer discovers his wife of 27 years had died suddenly. Less than 72 hours after Vikki's death, he pulls himself together for one of the most gut-wrenching and emotional Cincinnati victories of all-time. After his father, son and daughter accompany Zimmer on the Bengals flight, his players rally to hold the Ravens to 82 yards rushing, pick off quarterback Joe Flacco twice, and hold the fort long enough for quarterback Carson Palmer's 20-yard pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds left that puts the Bengals into sole possession of first place in the AFC North to stay at 4-1 on the way to a division sweep.

2) Dec. 23, 2012 at Pittsburgh - Bengals 13, Steelers 10: Winner goes to the playoffs. Loser goes home. The defense manufactures Cincinnati's only touchdown on an interception return by cornerback Leon Hall and safety Reggie Nelson sets up the winning field goal when he picks off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with 14 seconds left. Pro Bowl tackle Geno Atkins gets AFC Defensive Player of the Week for two of Cincinnati's four sacks while the Bengals holds the Steelers to 2-of-14 on third down.

3) Oct. 6, 2013 at Paul Brown Stadium - Bengals 13, Patriots 6: Zimmer solves the Belichick-Brady Hall of Fame mastery with the help of a Zimsoon in a sudden, swirling downpour that hit PBS as the Pats failed to rally for the tying touchdown in the final two minutes. But the defense also dominates the Pats in good weather, snapping Brady's bid for history when the Bengals stop his streak of games with a TD pass at 52 while holding the unbeaten Pats without a TD for the first time in 67 games. Zim's men muss Brady's hair long enough to stifle New England on all but one of the Pats' 12 third-down attempts in an effort punctuated by cornerback Adam Jones's leaping interception at the Bengals 3 with 16 seconds left.

4) Sept. 22, 2013 at Paul Brown Stadium - Bengals 34, Packers 30: The Bengals survive four turnovers against one of the game's best quarterbacks when they hold Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers to a 65.5 passer rating, stymying a slingshot artist that had racked up 10 games on the road of 100-plus passer ratings in the last three seasons. Setting the table for a year the defense often bailed the offense out of its turnover problems on the way to another AFC North title, the defense forces a huge one here when right end Michael Johnson makes rookie running back Jonathan Franklin fumble on fourth-and-one as the clock ticks to four minutes. When Nelson picks it up, he also fumbles after a few yards and cornerback Terence Newman gets a hand on it and runs 58 yards for a touchdown that gives the Bengals the lead at 34-30 with 3:47 left. It is the first of six defensive TDS at PBS in an unbeaten home season.

5) Nov. 15, 2009 at Pittsburgh - Bengals 18, Steelers 12:In the War of 18-12 the 6-2 Bengals are basically playing the AFC North championship game after beating the 6-2 Steelers back in September with the help of cornerback Johnathan Joseph's pick-six. The defense keeps Roethlisberger out of the end zone by holding him to a miserly 174 yards on brutal 20-of-40 passing and limiting the defending Super Bowl champs to just 224 total yards. With the game tied at 12 with 11:20 left, the Steelers don't get a first down while the Bengals manage two field goals. The Bengals go on to finish 10-6 with a division sweep while the Steelers win just three more the rest of the season.


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