Rams Vs. Bengals: Top Five Defensive Plays

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 18: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by defensive end Chris Long #91 of the St. Louis Rams in the first half of the game on December 18, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

These are starting to feel like a broken record. Contractual obligations. Every week, I roll out my picks for the St. Louis Rams top five defensive plays from the week before, and there's always the same bloody refrain. The Rams defense keeps this team in the game for a good two quarters of play. Through turnovers, sacks, timely stops and other happenings, the defense gives the offense the opportunity to build a lead. All they have to do is score.

But that's just too much to ask of the Rams offense. Really, it was the same story last year too. The defense was a little more consistent throughout the season, and the offense scored 18 points a game rather than 11. It was enough to get to 7-9.

This week, these plays all helped lead to a 6-3 Rams lead at halftime.

Quintin Mikell pounds two forced fumbles - These really resulted in nothing, since the Bengals recovered them. I come from the school of thought that says recoveries are largely the byproduct of luck, the bounce, but forcing fumbles is exactly what you want to see out of a defense. His second came in the third quarter.

Chris Long gets sack #13 and James Laurinaitis & Brady Poppinga stuff Cedric Benson for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-one - Those two plays stopped the Bengals' last drive of the first half. The offense managed to get a field goal on the resulting possession for a 6-3 lead.

Josh Gordy interception - Resulted in a three-and-out for the Rams offense.

Two forced fumbles, an INT, a big sack and an offense stuffed on fourth down...all the Rams could do was make it a 6-3 game.

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