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Atkins named AFC defensive player of the week

CINCINNATI Oh. - Bengals DT Geno Atkins today was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week by the NFL.

Atkins, a third-year pro who was named yesterday to his second straight Pro Bowl, had 2.0 sacks for 17 yards in the Bengals’ playoff-clinching 13-10 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, extending his team-leading total for the season to 12.5. He led a defensive line which provided consistent pressure on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who completed just 50 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice. In addition to the sacks, Atkins led the defensive line with eight total tackles (four solo) and one forced fumble against the Steelers.

Atkins leads all NFL interior linemen in sacks by a margin of 4.5. He has set a new Bengals record for sacks by an interior lineman, topping the mark of DT Dan Wilkinson, who had 8.0 in 1996.

In addition, Atkins leads the Bengals in QB pressures (35) and tackles-for-loss (13), and he ranks tied for first in forced fumbles (four) after getting one at Pittsburgh. 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 NT Tim Krumrie in 1988.

Overall, the Bengals this season have captured six of the league’s weekly or monthly AFC awards, which ties for the most in franchise history, also achieved in both the 1988 and ’89 seasons. It is the third defensive honor this season, with both of the previous awards also going to Bengals defensive linemen.

Below are this season’s Bengals winners prior to Atkins:

* DE Carlos Dunlap earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his Dec. 2 performance at San Diego. He had had two sacks, and on each one he forced a fumble. He recovered one of the fumbles late in the game to help preserve the win, and he totaled five tackles and four additional QB pressures in the game overall.

* QB Andy Dalton earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his Nov. 11 performance vs. the N.Y. Giants. He passed for a career-high four TDs, with no INTs, and passed overall 21-for-30 for 199 yards.

* WR A.J. Green was AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September. In four games he led the conference in receptions (27), was second in receiving yards (428) and was tied for most receiving TDs (three).

* DE Michael Johnson earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his Sept. 23 performance at Washington. Johnson recorded a career-high 3.0 sacks for minus-17 yards, while totaling seven tackles (six solo).

* CB Adam Jones earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his Sept. 16 performance vs. Cleveland. His three punt returns for an average of 30.0 yards included an 81-yarder for a TD, the only non-offensive score for either team in a seven-point (34-27) Bengals win.

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