Dimitri Patterson made the most of his opportunity.
Going up against the vaunted duo of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens on a night that Asante Samuel was out with a hamstring injury, Dimitri Patterson got extended reps as the left cornerback any time the first-team defense went with more than four defensive backs and he showed that he's able to make plays at the highest level.
"In my mindset, whether I go in the first quarter or the fourth quarter, I want to put good stuff on film. That's the bottom line," Patterson said after Friday night's game in which he had an interception, a forced fumble and was instrumental in Quintin Mikell's pick. "When you get a chance to go against guys like Chad and T.O., you want to show that you can play with those guys, and not only play with but dominate those guys."
On a second-and-8 play from the Philadelphia 43-yard-line during the Bengals' second offensive series, rookie free safety Nate Allen came blitzing off the left edge and was headed unblocked towards Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, until Palmer threw the ball in the direction of Ochocinco.
"I thought I was going to get there but (Palmer) let it go as soon as I got there and Dimitri made a good play," said Allen.
"It was pattern reading," said Patterson on the play. "They tried to high-low me and I tried to bait them into thinking I was going to sit high but I sat low, anticipating that (Ochocinco) was going to break the route off and (Palmer) ended up throwing it right to me, so it was kind of a gift to be honest."
Then, at the tail end of the second quarter, Patterson was involved in another pick. On third and 10 from the 50-yard-line, Palmer threw a slant to Ochocinco, and Patterson anticipated the play again, hitting the receiver as the ball arrived. Coming from the opposite side was middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, who, as Mikell would later say, "Smashed" Ochocinco, popping the ball up in the air and then down into the outstretched hands of a diving Mikell.
"We were blitzing and (Palmer) saw that we were coming on that side and I saw him point to (Ochocinco) to say, 'Be ready. The ball is coming your way, you're the hot side,'" said Patterson. "So I just sat on it and made sure I tried to give a punishing blow."
Turnovers, of course, are key to any defense's success.
"That's football," Patterson said. "You're going to give up first downs. You're going to get bad field position. But at the end of the day, you can't be concerned with what you can't control. All you can control is when you're on the field and when you're on the field you have to have a dominant mindset."
Patterson, who is also a valuable special teamer and was one of the two "starting" gunners, along with Riley Cooper, on Friday night, is proving to be a crucial member of the secondary and is pushing for increased playing time. So where does he fit in? Joselio Hanson got the start at left cornerback in Samuel's absence, but slid back to his natural nickel spot any time the defense brought on extra defensive backs. Hanson was also victimized by Owens on the Bengals' biggest play of the night, a 43-yard bomb down the sideline. If Hanson is best suited to stay inside, Patterson could be the team's top backup cornerback, as he also has experience on the right side and in the slot.
So yes, it was only the preseason, but if Patterson can handle - or as he would say, "dominate" - the likes of Ochocinco and Owens, his presence as a valuable insurance policy is not to be overlooked.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:30 a.m., August 21