The Bengals played a tough Week 1 opener against Mike Zimmer and the Vikings. Here’s a quick look back at how they performed.
The preseason opener has come and gone. The six long months without Bengals football is over. It’s time to start the weekly breakdown of what happened and how it could have been avoided. Friday’s battle with the Minnesota Vikings was a breath of fresh air for the starters. Yet, there are still some kinks to be worked out with the backups.
Sometimes, the giddy feelings that come with a new season of football can be blinding. Friday’s game against the Vikings wasn’t one of those moments. The eventual loss to Minnesota may leave fans bitter, but the bigger picture was performance. From that aspect, there was much cause for hope.
First, be honest about the game. Breathe deeply and reassure yourself. It’s just the preseason. Outside of the penciled in starters, Bengals brass has to decide who’s going to stay. There were some outstanding plays (Alex Erickson’s 80-yard punt return) that will be on SportsCenter replay during the regular season. The game served its purpose, even with the loss.
Did the Bengals starters show up and show out? Yes, they did. The first quarter ended with goose eggs on the scoreboard but left fans feeling great. The first team offense dominated the time of possession and set the tone against the Vikes’ defense.
Native son Mike Zimmer admitted he wasn’t familiar with what was happening on the field.
"“We were pretty awful. There was a lot of things I didn’t recognize out there.”"
Coming from the former Bengals defensive coordinator, those words are music to my ears. Cincinnati fans can be happy about that. Either Zimmer couldn’t recognize the offensive scheme or he was baffled by the changes on defense. Those are both factors that play out well for the home team.
Ken Zampese’s offense passed the test. They were able to control the ball and eat time off the clock. On their first two possessions, the offense was able to pound out 132 yards on 31 plays. Cincinnati converted on five of seven third-down attempts. Ball control could have been the winning formula, during that rainy Wild Card Game.
Overall, things look promising for the Bengals, At this point in the preseason, it’s safe to say the Margus Hunt experiment is over. He gave a lackluster performance. It’ll be easy to forget his time on the field.
Guenther will need to address the secondary situation. After being led to believe there was sufficient depth at the position, Chykie Brown was burned like toast. The big blow was a 49-yard strike to Charles Johnson. The secondary gave up 220 yards, while the subs were playing. Bengals coaches have to work on that area.
It was only preseason Week 1. There’s no need to tear up tickets and burn your jersey. Cincinnati looks good. The quest for the Lombardi has begun.