With Week 4 in the books, the Bengals can turn their attention to the Baltimore Ravens. But, now comes the issue of injuries and cuts.
If you were looking for an offensive duel between the Cincinnati Bengals and Colts, you must not watch much football. After a successful dress rehearsal in Week 3, the purpose of game number four is observation. Toss in a bit of caution, safety measures and crossed fingers and you have the whole drama played out. The Bengals were able to escape the Week 4 loss (7-6) relatively healthy but with new questions to ponder.
In the first half, the offense looked like it was ready to make a quick snack of the Colts defense. But, for some strange reason, the Bengals like to commit turnovers on the first drive. Andy Dalton was able to right the ship against the Washington Redskins with a 15-play, 87-yard TD drive. But, AJ McCarron and company went back to square one.
McCarron had a journeyman type night and ended the game going 20-0f-30 for 216 yards. The problem? Against a mixture of rookies, free agents and a few starters (maybe), he wasn’t able to punch the ball over the goal line. If McCarron is the same quarterback that the Bengals want so much for, he’s holding back. Maybe the trade rumors and talk of Jeff Driskel has crept into his psyche.
The bad luck doesn’t quit with this team. Driskel went into the locker room to get examined and returned to the sideline…in a cast.
If your mind instantly went back to Week 14 of the 2015 season, you weren’t alone. Driskel standing next to Dalton was like a deja vu moment. Now, the chess moves have to be made. How bad is the injury? If his thumb had to be put in a cast, is it a few weeks or season ending? Do they keep him on the roster or go with injured reserve?
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Remember how good Tra Carson looked in his preseason games? Well, Jarveon Williams looked like a keeper against Indy. No, he isn’t on that breakaway level with Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. But, Williams has some nice little moves. He was able to slither and juke his way to 117 yards on 27 carries. With Carson suffering from an injury, this could actually be a chance for Williams to barge his way onto the 53-man roster. Cedric Peerman is gone for the season.
The Bengals are no doubt going with a three back situation. But, with Hill slightly hobbled and Carson dinged up, there will be some late night sessions on how to maneuver through healthy players before final cuts.
The Foot Game
The kicking battle looked like it would go down to the wire and it did, But, both kickers looked shaky in the final moments of the Lucas Oil battle.
Jake Elliott had a chance to get the Bengals second W of the preseason but missed a 46-yard attempt, Randy Bullock missed his first field goal of preseason (47 yards) and Elliott missed the last attempt of the game. He just missed a 60-yard attempt to lift Cincy to victory.
Now, it’s on to the numbers game and figuring out who stays and who’s going to be working at Kinkos until they get a call to come back.