The Bengals’ Week 3 road trip to Washington ended with a loss. But, the overall effort was much better than the previous game.
The Cincinnati Bengals took a business trip to the nation’s capital and, quite frankly, took care of the business they needed to. On their first drive of the game, the Bengals went on a 15-play, 87-yard drive that snatched 8:51 off the clock. If the question is still out there about Andy Dalton’s ability to engineer a TD drive, hopefully, it’s taken a little sojourn for a few days. Yet, the result was a 23-17.
During that time-consuming drive, Dalton was able to go 6-for-8 and looked sharp on all of his completions. A.J. Green and Joe Mixon looked in prime shape on the push downfield. Green was able to pull in a 17-yard gem from Dalton, to convert a third and thirteen. After working their way to the Washington 3-yard line Jeremy Hill was able to punch it in for six.
Mixon looked like the exciting running back Bengals fans have been waiting for. A good mix of power and speed will have him making a push for the starting position. But, his first major faux pas of the preseason came on the Stripes’ second drive. On a handoff from Dalton, Mixon took his eyes off the ball and fumbled. The Redskins recovered and set up shop on the Bengals’ 33-yard line.
Cue The Defense
A few questions about the Bengals’ defense were cleared on the ensuing Washington possession, after the fumble. What seemed like a prime opportunity for the Redskins to run a red zone offense turned into a nightmare.
The drive stalled due to intense pressure from the Cincinnati defense. Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins was introduced to Carl Lawson. During his time on the field, Lawson was able to give Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams fits. His ability to bend around the end is a welcome sight and addition to the D.
Vontaze Burfict has looked good during training camp and in each preseason game. But, it all came to a head on Sunday evening. On third-and-five from the Bengals 40-yard line, Cousins telegraphed a pass to Chris Thompson and Burfict was able to slice under him for an INT. Sixty-two yards later, Burfict was in the end zone and dancing in the stands. Burfict was taken from the game a few plays later with a back/head issue and did not return to the field.
Odds And Ends
Alex Erickson continues to find open spots in the defense. Cody Core has an explosive first step that will cause major headaches this season. He looks faster than advertised. The much-maligned O-line did its job in the first half. Dalton was able to sit in the pocket and find his targets. There was minimal pressure. When there was, Andy was able to fix that with a quick release.
Giovani Bernard looks good on his surgically repaired ACL. He was able to join the fun, for a few touches, and ended the evening with 25 yards on 4 carries for a 6.3 average.
Overall, the dress rehearsal went as planned. There were a few typical breakdowns from the rookies as wholesale substitutions came in. But, the Bengals look closer to being ready for the regular season. The Week 3 effort was a far cry from the KC massacre.