Last week, I wrote that Eli Apple deserves more respect. The man isn’t a star, but he has made incremental improvement this year.
The article was… not received well.
Apple, who apparently peruses this site, then did me a solid by going out and having his best game yet.
According to Pro Football Focus, against the Las Vegas Raiders, the sixth-year corner played 30 coverage snaps (tied for the team high), was targeted three times, and only surrendered 27 yards. Derek Carr’s passer rating when targeting Apple was 55.6, lower than his rating when targeting any other starting member of the secondary.
Eli Apple is playing fantastic cover 2 technique here. His man goes underneath, so he drops and gains depth to take away any out-breaking routes. Gets right underneath of the corner route by Waller to pick this ball off. pic.twitter.com/Qqf7MbyEAm
— Mike (Sans) (@bengals_sans) November 24, 2021
His overall play earned the cornerback a grade of 87.1, second best on the defense.
Defensive grades for Bengals vs Las Vegas fit pretty much what you saw:
1. Trey Hendrickson – 89.1
2. Eli Apple – 87.1
3. Mike Hilton – 71.6
4. Sam Hubbard – 68.7
5. Chidobe Awuzie – 66.6
— Andrew Russell (@PFF_AndrewR) November 22, 2021
Oh, and Apple also had the game-sealing interception.
That was a powerful moment for the team, knowing how much the former Ohio State Buckeye has been waiting for his shot at redemption after failing to live up to his billing as a first round pick in the 2016 Draft.
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