|Bengals DB Terence Newman picked off Peyton Manning twice two weeks ago. The Bengals have six interceptions in the last four games. (AP Images)|
When Bengals CB Leon Hall saw newly activated DT Pat Sims haul in an interception against the New York Giants, his mind immediately flipped to one thought.
“Pat Sims just got back and he has more interceptions than I do,” Hall said. “ Literally, I was on the field and that was the first thing I thought about.”
The interception shutout syndrome used to be a collective concern in the Cincinnati secondary, but those stripes are changing rapidly for the Bengals. Despite the Bengals top corner yet to snag a pick, the team finds themselves on a roll after an ugly drought to open the year.
Through the first five games of the season, the Bengals managed but one interception. In the past four games they've picked off six. Interestingly, the drought came during a string of three rookie quarterbacks and Blaine Gabbert.
The latest run came against Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, who've combined for five Super Bowl titles.
“I think we definitely had a focus on it,” Hall said. “Slowly as the year has progressed we have gotten closer and closer as far as covering the receivers. Little while ago once we were getting our hands close and contesting a lot of throws we knew they were going to start coming sooner or later. They usually do.”
Nobody knows more about how interceptions can come in bunches like Matt Cassel and the Chiefs. Andy Dalton just kicked the streak of throwing at least one interception in every game this week. That leaves the Chiefs and Cassell as the lone team to own the ugly designation.
Kansas City has thrown 15 interceptions in nine games. The latest came in overtime to all but end the 13-10 loss to Pittsburgh. With 15 picks, they come in many forms and fashions -- verthrows, underthrows, cross-body throws and deflected throws.
That means regardless of position in relation to the play, the secondary must always be ready for a pass to come their way Sunday. The Bengals corners hope the trends on both sides continue --- well, all except Hall.
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. on Twitter for Bengals updates at @CBSBengals.