Bengals Defensive Lineman Ties NFL Record, Eyes Owning It Himself Saturday at Pittsburgh

With interceptions in back-to-back games, Bengals DT B.J. Hill shares an NFL record and could make it his own Saturday against the Steelers.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo took a break from answering questions from reporters Tuesday and instead asked one of his own:

“Has that ever happened in the NFL before? I bet you it hasn’t.”

What Anarumo was referencing was defensive tackle B.J. Hill recording an interception in back-to-back games.

Plenty of players have done it — 1,266, in fact.

Cincinnati Bengals DT B.J. Hill Looks To Make History vs. Pittsburgh

But defensive tackles? That’s a different story. Anarumo was wrong in his assertion that it was unprecedented, but he was close.

Hill is the fourth defensive tackle to accomplish the feat and the first since Jason Wiltz in 1999. The other two are Scott Mersereau in 1991 and Billy Newsome in 1971.

Shown the list and informed he now owns an NFL record, Hill said, “Nah, I’m just tied.”

Hill isn’t big on particulars, as Anarumo pointed out. When it was pointed out that he recorded his first career interception last week against Gardner Minshew II and the Indianapolis Colts, Hill took exception.

“He didn’t like it,” Anarumo said.

Hill intercepted Patrick Mahomes in the 2021 AFC Championship Game to start the Cincinnati comeback, but postseason stats and records are kept separately. Until the Colts game, that was the only interception he’d ever had in any NFL game.

He did have one at North Carolina State in his second career college game, picking off former Bengals practice squad member Quinton Flowers of South Florida.

Hill is having fun with his new status as a turnover machine and hands guy after moving into a tie for third place for most interceptions on the team, lobbying for snaps on offense and bragging about his skills to reporters.

“I might need to drop into coverage a little bit more and see what I can do,” he said. “I think I’d rather be a receiver than anything, but I don’t think that’s gonna work.”

In addition to his hands, Hill showed off his arm after intercepting Minnesota’s Nick Mullens on Saturday. With the rest of the defensive players chasing him to the end zone for what has become a celebratory tradition after a turnover, Hill showed off his arm strength by firing the ball into the wall of Paycor Stadium.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said he thought Hill might have dented the concrete.

“To be honest, I barely remember it,” Hill said of firing the ball. “I was just so excited and pumped up, I just said, ‘Screw it.’ I don’t know why I threw it. I did play a little bit of quarterback back in my younger days, so you might need to pull up the film from high school. A couple of plays here or there. Not too bad.”

In all seriousness, Hill has been having a fantastic season and is playing some of his best football here in December.

And his role only is going to increase with the loss of DJ Reader to a season-ending quad injury.

“B.J. does so many things for us,” Anarumo said. “He’s a three-down guy, and obviously he’s a good athlete.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati’s Week 16 opponent, sport an offense tied for the eighth fewest interceptions thrown this season with nine, but they may need to turn the offense over to Mason Rudolph if Kenny Pickett isn’t able to return from the ankle injury that has kept him out the last two games.

MORE: Cincinnati Bengals Fell Just Short of NFL Record, Continuing Jake Browning’s Emergence

Rudolph threw nine interceptions in his only season as a regular starter in 2019.

So does Hill think he can do it in a third straight game?

“I’m gonna try,” he said. “I’ll be the leader then.”

Not only would he set the record for consecutive games with an interception by a defensive tackle, he would be halfway to the NFL record of six for a player at any position.

“He can keep having them as far as I’m concerned,” Anarumo said.

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