DETROIT — As soon as Leon Hall landed, he knew what had happened.
The Bengals cornerback suffered a second Achilles tendon injury in three years, an injury that head coach Marvin Lewis termed as “pretty significant” after the Bengals had beaten the Detroit Lions 27-24 Sunday at Ford Field. While there has been no definitive diagnosis announced, the injury to his right Achilles in all likelihood will end Hall’s season after seven games.
Hall was covering Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson on a lob pass in the end zone in the first quarter. Hall, who is 5-feet-11 and six inches shorter than the 6-5 Johnson, leaped with Johnson for a pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford that went incomplete. Hall came down and immediately fell to the turf. He eventually got up and went to the bench under his own power but was limping the entire way. He was taken to the locker room on a cart.
Hall tore his left Achilles in a game against Pittsburgh in 2011, forcing him to miss the final seven games of the regular season and a playoff game at Houston.
“It’s just hard because I’ve been with him when he got hurt the first time,” said safety Chris Crocker. “I’m just so sad for him. This is a special year for us and I feel like you want to be around something like this.”
Crocker replaced Hall as the nickel back, with Dre Kirkpatrick and safety Taylor Mays picking up more playing time. Stafford threw for 357 yards, completing 28 of 51 pass attempts. The Bengals were credited with 11 pass breakups while chasing Detroit receivers all over the field.
“You just have to adjust and adapt,” said Crocker. “It made it tough on us but we practice the situation where a db goes down and I’ve got to go into another spot, Dre has to come in. It’s just one of those games.”
Hall was credited with one tackle and one pass breakup before he left the game with 3:08 left in the first quarter. He entered the game tied for the team lead in pass breakups (six) with fellow cornerback Terence Newman.
Newman and Mays each had three pass breakups Sunday.
Hall had played in the first 74 games of his career (including postseason) with 65 starts before his injury in 2011. He returned in time for the start of the 2012 season and made 15 starts, including the playoffs at Houston when he scored the Bengals’ lone touchdown of the game on a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“That was a big blow,” said Newman. “My heart went out to him. When I first got here I saw how hard he was working to get back and now to know that he has to go through all of that again, it’s just something you never want to see that (happen) to anybody. I’m just going to keep praying and hopefully it’s a speedy recovery and he comes back even stronger.”