The Bengals continue their preseason winning streak thanks to the sterling performances of Carl Lawson, Andy Dalton, and many others.
The Bengals had their third straight excellent preseason game as they knocked off the Bills 26-13 in Buffalo. The game had an even nicer feel to it, as there has been a lot of generosity between fan bases following the Bengals’ Week 17 win over Baltimore, ending Buffalo’s playoff drought. Andy Dalton got a standing ovation from Bills’ fans before the game started, which was a great touch.
Dalton didn’t return the favor on the field, as he demoralized the Bills’ defense through the first half. He completed 11/16 passes for 180 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was great to see Dalton bounce back from a relatively poor showing in Dallas, but the main storyline wasn’t his passing.
The starters on defense had an absolutely phenomenal game, and it starts with the pass rush. Carl Lawson has continued to astound as he recorded a whopping three sacks. Andrew Billings tacked on another 1.5 (Jordan Willis had the other .5 sack), and he looked like a true starter for the Bengals defense.
The safeties also played very well in Iloka’s stead. Bates wasn’t the star of the position, though – that honor belongs to Trayvon Henderson. Henderson had an awesome game, recording 4 solo tackles and a sack. He seems to be in the good graces of the coaches, and may be the UDFA that makes the Bengals this year. Veteran Shawn Williams also played well, leading the Bengals in tackles with 6.
The rest of the offense was hit or miss. The receivers as a whole played really well. Notably, John Ross had a monster touchdown that showed his peak ability. AJ Green (4/50/1) and Tyler Boyd (4/54) did plenty of heavy lifting for the passing game, and Joe Mixon had a nice 23 yard reception.
The two biggest concerns from the game were the run game and Auden Tate, though. Tate did not even get a target, which is an issue for a guy who wants to make the final roster. He needs to have a big fourth preseason game. The starting run game also looked pretty putrid, as Mixon and Giovani Bernard combined for 10 carries for 10 yards. The offensive line was a big reason why, as they continue to underwhelm. Fortunately, left tackle Cordy Glenn seems ok after suffering a scary shoulder injury.
Overall, the Bengals should draw positive things from this win. The team looked fairly complete in beating the pants off Josh Allen in the first half. If they can execute these things in the regular season, they should be absolutely fine.