The Cincinnati Bengals lost their preseason opener to the Arizona Cardinals but fear not! It was only preseason. Who were the winners and losers of this game?
After an anticipated wait, the Cincinnati Bengals played a real football game for the first time since the Super Bowl loss. It might have just been a preseason outing but it was still good to see the stripes back out there doing their thing.
We didn’t see a ton of starters on the gridiron for this preseason opener against the Cardinals but there were still plenty of winners and losers to be had.
Let’s get the negative out of the way and start with the losers.
All game and overall stats courtesy of ESPN
While Wilcox might be able to squeeze his way onto the roster due to his special teams experience, it’s not good that he left the game early on due to an injury. This is his chance to show that he, without a doubt, belongs on the 53-man roster.
In a scenario where Hayden Hurst and Drew Sample weren’t playing and then Mitchell Wilcox had to exit due to injury, it was time for Moss to show that he can be the same guy Joe Burrow threw to at LSU. Unfortunately, Moss had a rough night when it came to penalties, getting flagged for holding on two plays. One of those plays was a huge special teams run by Chris Evans while the other flag wiped out a touchdown by Evans.
The only projected starting offensive lineman for the regular season to start in this preseason game was Jackson Carman, who was manning left guard. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for Carman. He looked like he was on roller skates throughout the night and was the only overall starter left out on the field when it was all said and done. He’s going to have to do better if he wants to hold onto that job.
Backup quarterbacks are always the star during the preseason but Brandon Allen didn’t get much of a chance to capitalize on that stardom. He left the game early on with what was reported as a concussion. He’s going to win the backup job because it’s not a competition but if it were, Allen would be trailing.
With La’el Collins not starting, Isaiah Prince got the nod at right tackle and it went about as well as expected. Prince struggled to show much of anything and the lowlight was late in the first half when he was pushed around by Christian Ringo and eventually led to a strip sack. Not a good look for Prince.
Williams joined the team as a UDFA last year and his best shot at making the team this year was as a returner. Well, he didn’t show that he could do that well last year and he struggled again on Friday, muffing the punt.
Another former Kansas alum had a rough go of it during the preseason opener, as Adeniji got worked by the Cardinals defenders all night long. He’s becoming more and more of a roster cut possibility. Just because someone is an experienced backup on the o-line doesn’t mean they should be given a roster spot and Adeniji is proof of just that.
It was really important for Jeff Gunter to show something this summer to earn one of the defensive line depth jobs. He brought the noise in his first preseason game, knocking down a pass on his first snap in the stripes. He also had a sack later on in the game.
It’s hard to argue that someone had a better night in the preseason opener than Evans. As mentioned above, Moss took away what would have been two massive gains for Evans and the stripes and also wiped a touchdown off the board. It was still awesome to see Evans excelling in both the offensive scheme and on special teams.
The rookie third-round pick is going to make the team but it was good to see him stand out and make plays during his first-ever game in the black and orange stripes. He had a few noteworthy plays in the first half and looked to be a nice rotational piece for the d-line this year.
I realize there’s very little chance that Jake Browning will be anything more than a third-string quarterback but he stepped up and made plays on Friday night. Allen missed most of the game due to a concussion he sustained in the first half and Browning entered completely unfazed. This was even more impressive considering that he didn’t have good protection in front of him at all.
I don’t really know that I need to go into detail here but McPherson was definitely a winner in Friday’s game. The second-year kicker knocked through a 56-yarder and a 58-yarder and showed yet again why he was one of the most fun Bengals to watch last year. What a gem.
Rookie first-round pick Daxton Hill got his first glimpse of NFL action and he delivered. Hill had two near interceptions and looked good with timing on pass breakups throughout the night. Lou Anarumo has to be thrilled at the production he saw from the rookie.
Jackson Carman did not play well during Friday’s matchup so things were already trending favorably for Volson, who entered the game late in the third quarter. The fourth-round rookie out of North Dakota State might have been playing against lesser competition but he made the most of it, helping Jake Browning complete a nice pass with his blocking and then paving the way for Jacques Patrick to score the team’s first touchdown of the night.
One preseason game down, two more to go!