The Bengals defeated the Washington Redskins last night 23-13. There were positives and negatives. Here are 5 takeaways from the Bengals first preseason win.
1. Too Many Penalties
The Bengals accumulated their share of penalties last night and it was a sloppy game from the start. The team finished with 11 accepted penalties for 85 yards. Mental mistakes can derail offensive and defensive momentum. To be fair, the Redskins penalty yards were north of 100.
Heading into practice next week, this will no doubt be a focus for Zac Taylor and his staff. The third preseason game is considered the dress rehearsal for the opener. Getting this area cleaned up is a must.
2. Ryan Finley Secures Backup Job?
The rookie signal caller has performed nicely through his first two games in the NFL. Finley is playing efficient football. His stat line is, 33-44 259 yards, 75% completion rate, with three touchdowns and one interception.
After struggling during spring and early summer practices, Finley has finally found his footing. His recent success likely played a part in Taylor having quarterback Jeff Driskel practicing as a receiver. Regardless, Finley is in the process of locking down the primary backup slot behind starting quarterback Andy Dalton.
3. The offensive line needs more work
One of the most useful stats to display the effectiveness of an offensive line is yards per carry (YPC). Through two preseason games, Bengals rushers are averaging a measly 3.1 YPC. To be fair, star running back Joe Mixon hasn’t played much this preseason. He will help once the regular season begins. Still, the proper continuity with the offensive line will be critical heading into when the games really count.
4. The wide receivers are young but capable
Cincinnati’s wide receiver room is youth filled with an average age of 23. Many of these young playmakers have shown their abilities on the field this preseason. These young weapons are Auden Tate, Stanley Morgan Jr. Cody Core, and Alex Erickson among others. With John Ross and A.J. Green sidelined by injuries, the Bengals have young, but capable receivers who seem ready to step in and produce.
5. Defensive rebound
A week after the Kansas City Chiefs put up 38 points, the Bengals defense rebounded nicely. It was just the Redskins offense. Still, Cincinnati was able to make stops and create a turnover. We just have not seen enough of this in recent years. The unit was aggressive and attacking the majority of the night, especially against the run. They were able to stifle the ground game with little room for success. It was a good game for a rebuilding defense.