Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune addresses the linebacker play in his excellent “10 Thoughts” article:
“Lance Briggs made a big play when he stuffed BenJarvus Green-Ellis for a four-yard loss on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the third quarter. But it was a relatively quiet game for the linebackers. According to press box statistics, Briggs had seven tackles, James Anderson made five and D.J. Williams was credited for three.
“The biggest play by a linebacker might have been Anderson deflecting [Bengals quarterback Andrew] Dalton’s pass for Marvin Jones in the fourth quarter. The Bengals were facing third-and-10 on their own 20 and Anderson showed a blitz in the A gap along with Briggs. On the snap, Anderson dropped into zone coverage with defensive end Julius Peppers also dropping off as Briggs and strong safety Major Wright blitzed. Dalton threw early and Anderson was there to deflect the pass with his left hand.”
The statistics don’t show Anderson’s true value Sunday. He was everywhere in coverage from beginning to end. Former strong-side linebacker Nick Roach was solid but Anderson showed some athleticism that I thought Roach to some extent lacked. This was a definite upgrade and general manager Phil Emery deserves some credit for pulling the trigger on it.