Bengals: Three takeaways from first preseason game

Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals won their first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it wasn’t pretty. It was a hard-fought victory for the Bengals side, and while many write off preseason games as meaningless, we still think these players’ performances count for something.

Cincinnati’s starters took the field for a few drives before giving the younger talent and the roster hopefuls a chance to impress. With only a handful of veterans playing, it was the rookies’ time to shine, and shine they did.

These are some quick takeaways from last night’s game:

3. Chris Evans

Few saw this coming.

Cincinnati’s sixth-round pick from Michigan, rookie Chris Evans, may have earned a roster spot after his performance on Saturday. Evans finished the game with 12 carries for 25 yards and a touchdown while also recording four catches for 33 yards.

He easily outshone his competition: starter Joe Mixon managed just one carry, and the projected backup, Samaje Perine, got three carries for only five yards.

Evans’ speed, shiftiness, and sure hands caught the eyes of spectators and coaches alike, and he definitely has a leg up in taking that No. 3 running back position when season rolls around. Of course, he’ll have to continue performing at the same level, and there’s lots of opportunities for others to shine as well, but Evans looked terrific last game. His future is bright.

2. Joseph Ossai

Evans isn’t the only rookie who stood out last night: third-round pick Joseph Ossai also came prepared and could be set for a breakout season. He recorded one sack, five hurries, and a tackle for loss against the Bucs. In the third quarter, Ossai appeared to hurt his wrist causing a pressure on a play and ultimately left the game.

What he showed on the field prior to his injury, though, should make Bengals fans very, very optimistic.

Lined up with Trey Hendrickson, Ossai got his first career sack against none other than Tom Brady. He’s still very much an unrefined rookie and will gain much-needed experience the more he plays, but sacking the GOAT in your first game? That’s not too shabby at all.

Ossai will mainly compete with fellow rookie Darius Hodge for the pass-rushing position in the rotation. Both looked good yesterday, but Ossai gets the nod for now.

1. Evan McPherson and Austin Seibert

We wrote about the dramatic kicker battle going on in the Bengals’ training camp, and neither Evan McPherson nor Austin Seibert disappointed last night.

That’s good.

McPherson made a 40-yard attempt in the third quarter to give his team a 10-6 lead and ended the game going 2-of-2. Seibert was 1-of-1.

Cincinnati’s special teams unit looks to be on track for a solid season, despite not picking a starting kicker yet. Darrin Simmons had previously spoken out about the kicker competition, believing that both players “deserve to be kicking in the league.”

Watching the rookie and the veteran duel it out isn’t the most exciting part of football, but it’s an important position battle to keep an eye on.

Next. 3 position battles to watch in Week 1 of preseason. dark

Preseason may not count for much, but for us football fans at least, it’s wildly entertaining. We look forward to see which players impress next game.