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Mike Hilton Sees ‘A Big Change In The Guard’ In AFC North With Bengals Topping Steelers

The Cincinnati Bengals have beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers in each of their last three games against one another. Cornerback Mike Hilton was on the winning side on the last two after losing in the first one, signing from the Steelers to the Bengals in free agency this offseason, and he helped put an exclamation point on yesterday’s 41-10 blowout.

Just after the Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick intercepted Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, and Pittsburgh was looking to get some points on the board before halftime, Hilton read quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, undercutting his throw and housing it for six. That made it 31-3, and by then, it was over.

The Bengals are now 7-4 and the Steelers are 5-5-1. And the two teams are heading in opposite directions, or so many people feel, which can be summarized in their quarterbacks: One a future Hall of Famer who is on his last leg, and the other a second-year former first overall pick who is throwing touchdowns.

Absolutely, no question about it. Beating these guys, for me twice, and for some of these other guys three times straight, it’s a big change in the guard in our opinion”, Hilton said about the shifting hierarchy in the AFC North. “It’s giving us a lot of confidence, and guys are excited to see how the rest of the season plays out”.

And Hilton has been a part of that change, a player who has really helped not only to solidify their secondary, but also has helped to shape a rebuilding culture in the locker room along with other veterans from winning programs like Trey Hendrickson. And they all seem to love him the way the Steelers and their fans did.

“Mike Hilton is a winner”, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said. “Mike Hilton brings constant energy. We talk about guys who are consistent every single day, and we know what to expect from them when they walk in the building: that’s Mike Hilton to a T. He’s just awesome to be around. He brings a high standard to everybody, and guys just respect the heck out of him”.

A former college free agent out of Ole Miss in 2016, Hilton kicked around practice squads as a rookie before making the Steelers’ roster in 2017 and quickly emerging as their nickel back, a role he would occupy for the next four years.

Because of his ability to play physical football, both against the run and while rushing the passer, it didn’t take long for him to gain fans, and he was well-loved while here, though a certain section of the fanbase rapidly turned on him as soon as he signed with Cincinnati this offseason.

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