CU Buffs Awuzie and Tupou look to make history for the Cincinnati Bengals as they open the NFL playoffs this weekend against the Las Vegas Raiders in the wildcard game. Cincinnati already clinched and won the AFC North Championship. Standing strong at a 10-7 record just above the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie, drafted in 2017 a 26 year old, 6 foot 200 pound defensive secondary threat. This San Jose kid has spent 5 years in the NFL. The once cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys has come into the 2022 season as a Bengal and lit things on fire.
It all started when he became first team All Pac-12 honoree and co MVP as a Colorado Buffalo. One of the toughest and best cornerbacks in all of college football, he was drafted by the Cowboys in 2017. It was a slow start to his NFL season debut with a combined 25 tackles. He went on to have a stellar next two seasons in Dallas, until 2020 when he dropped to just 38 total tackles after a 2019 season of nearly 80. His time in Texas was done and he would move on to the Queen City.
Nobody knew coming into this season how good the Bengals would be. It was a dismal 2021 packed with so many injuries and potential that just was not met. Cincinnati was the least expected team out of everyone in the AFC North to rise to the top and win the AFC North title. Chidobe Awuzie was a major player in getting them to the top. This season he has stood out among all defensive players for the Bengals. Wrapping up players left and right for 53 solo tackles so far. With 11 assisted it brings his total to 64 on the season with much more left to come. Because of his astounding quick reaction time, something he’s known for throughout the league, he has got in the way for 2 interceptions.
Josh Tupou, Cincinnati’s nose tackle combining for 12 tackles this year. He comes by way out of Long Beach, California. A 6 foot 3, 345 machine who has spent all his years with Bengals. Minus one in 2020 where he opted out because of COVID. He is a tough tenacious player who doesn’t give up. In 2017 he was waived and sent to the practice squad. Worked his way back up to be promoted back onto the active roster and has been there ever since. He has been a staple of his teams defense. Unfortunately was injured last week during the Brown’s game and we hope to see him back at the start of the Bengals playoff run.
Between Tupou and Awuzie they are two of the biggest players on defense for Cincinnati. Both of them are two of the highest graded players on defense. The Bengals will host the Raiders at 4:30 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium this Saturday for the wildcard game. Airing on NBC. Oakland is another 10-7 team who clinched a playoff berth, so expect this game to be down to the wire and exciting as we get a look at two teams not expected to be there.
The Cincinnati Bengals have not reached the playoffs since 2015. Losing to the Steelers once again. They have not won a playoff matchup since 1990 against the Houston Oilers. The Bengals altogether have a 5-14 playoff record. However, this is a different young and hungry team that is not the Bengals of the old. With Joe Burrow healthy this season, and Joe Mixon having the best year of his career, and Ja’Marr Chase who has also had a breakout season and matching the same chemistry he had with Burrows at LSU. This team could go far as it finally has the offense and confidence to win post season games, and the defense to keep them in the hunt every game. Could Awuzie and Tupou help lead the Bengals to their first postseason win in this decade? Buffs fans join in and support these two former Buffs by supporting the Bengals. A win for them is a win for Boulder.