Welcome to the big leagues, Michael Jordan.
That name is synonymous for being the greatest of all-time. But we’re not talking about the GOAT of the NBA. We’re talking about Cincinnati Bengals’ rookie guard Michael Jordan, a man who had whatever the opposite of whatever The Flu Game is Monday night. And Cam Heyward is the dude who did most of the damage. Heyward didn’t need an array of moves either to win. Just a tried and true bull rush. Move Jordan from Point A to Point B against his will. That’s when you know you’re a dominant linemen in this league.
First rep to look at. Talk about forklifting your blocker. Great strike, leverage, getting into the chest and under the LG’s pads. Keeps his feet under him, creating power (don’t want to get overextended) and drives Jordan into the pocket. Places him in Andy Dalton’s lap and then disengages for the sack.
Seriously, check out the arm extension and leverage here. Completely uprights Jordan.
Full replay. Using the TV tape because it actually provides a better and clearer look.
Same thing in this clip. Bull rush, into the guards’ pads, who isn’t into Heyward’s chest one bit. Able to disengage and shed him so badly that Jordan is actually turned the wrong way. Power on that inside hand with that long arm stab is ridiculous. And he absolutely crushes Dalton and forces the fumble.
Little bit earlier in the game. Not a sack but you see the power Heyward has and ability to walk him back. Heyward now aligned in the A gap and Jordan does a poor job getting square and in front of him. Soft inside shoulder is a bad place to be as a blocker. Heavy hands creates movement and Jordan again winds up in Dalton’s lap. Ball gets out quickly but had it been covered a little better, it’s likely another sack.
Last one. This isn’t even a pass rush nor a matchup on Jordan but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point this one out. It’s 3rd and 18, 27-3, three minutes to go. The game is over. Heyward’s played a great game, he’s dealing with a thigh injury. Super easy to slow up here on this screen pass, let someone else clean it up, and get off the field.
Not Heyward. This is where his fanatical effort kicks in. He reads the play, runs to the ball, and tracks Gio Bernard across the field after a nine yard gain.
Again, Heyward didn’t have to do this. If he jogged the whole way, no fan or analyst would’ve known or cared. But his teammates would’ve saw it on tape. Above all, he would’ve known he loafed. And I’ve never seen him take a play off. 1st snap of the game, last snap, Super Bowl, preseason, blowout win or loss, his motor runs exactly the same. That’s infectious to the rest of the group, it’s a reason why Javon Hargrave runs so hard to the ball now (he didn’t do it well in college). And why he’s a leader and authority figure in that locker room.
By game’s end, Jordan found a seat on the bench only to have his backup, Billy Price, get dusted by Tyson Alualu for the defense’s 8th and final sack.
Even though the bar is high with Heyward, it’s one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from him.