Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) reacts after the game against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Week three of the preseason kicked off Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium with the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Chicago Bears. Traditionally, week three is the proverbial “dress rehearsal” for regular season action. This is where offenses and defense game plan for their opponent and implement plays that fans can expect to see week one. Going into Saturday night, it was impossible to know which Bengals team would show up, the one who Bungled Monday night versus Tampa Bay, or the team that looked so crisp against the New York Giants just two weeks ago.
Well, the first thing anyone notices when they visit Paul Brown Stadium this year are the two new, ultra clear, LED video boards, perched atop each end zone. These things are massive, and make it impossible to miss any of the action. Next, the Bengals added ribbon scoreboards between the 2nd tier and upper tier of the stadium. A very nice touch, and makes a very noticeable difference. With upgraded concessions, tiger murals, and WiFi for all, the stadium upgrades help Paul Brown Stadium no longer feel outdated. Let’s get serious though, this game wasn’t about stadium upgrades and the new and improved video boards, it’s about football.
Right off the bat, the Cincinnati Bengals defense was put to the test. Although the Bears were without All-Pro wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, they still had the likes of Jay Cutler, Martellus Bennett, and Matt Forte. The Bengals, however, weren’t impressed, holding the Bears offense to a quick three and out. At this point, the Bears fans didn’t seem too surprised, but wanted a little more from their starting O.
Now it was time for the good guys. Bengals fans were a little uneasy after the Bengals offense could barely fog a mirror in Tampa Bay just 5 days prior. This was not the same offense of Monday night. The Bengals came out firing, and Andy Dalton led them on a 16 play 82 yard touchdown drive that took 9:11 off the clock. That is a formula for success on any Sunday, including playoff Sundays.
After another Bears struggle on offense, the first thing everyone noticed when the Bengals offense took the field for their second drive, was that Andy Dalton was no longer on the field. Regardless of what social media says, the immediate reaction from the fans was, where is Andy, is he okay? Once the confirmed neck injury was deemed as not so serious, we all began to enjoy what is now the AJ McCarron show, and what a show it was.
Welcome back Marvin Jones. Wow, what an impressive drive for the 3rd year player from Cal. The catch that didn’t count might have been his most impressive. Jones tracked the deep ball from McCarron, jumped, and caught the pass at its highest point over the defender, and then proceeded to roll into the end zone. Of course this was negated by another penalty, but it looked very impressive. Fortunately this wasn’t Jones’s only action of the evening, because two plays later, McCarron hit Jones on a crossing route and Jones busted through two defenders on his way to a 31 yard touchdown. Fantasy owners take note, Jones might be poised for a breakout year.
Finally, mid-way through the third quarter, Jay Cutler exited, and Jimmy Claussen came in to replace him at quarterback. The amount of cheers that came from the Bears fans that stuck around was surprising and loud. Claussen didn’t have much more success than Cutler, and the Bears only amassed a field goal, and a blocked punt for a touchdown.
All in all, Saturday night was another successful night for the Cincinnati Bengals, and the fan experience couldn’t have been better. The Bengals went to work early and often, and this game had a feeling of, if this were a real game, this would be a blowout. With final cuts underway, and all NFL rosters having to be at 53 in less than 7 days, the Bengals are in a good spot as they enter the regular season.