A few friends and I decided to road trip from Nashville to Atlanta this past Thursday to attend the Bengals first preseason game of the year against the Atlanta Falcons. After a 4 hour drive we arrived in the ATL, we had some killer grass fed burgers, fries and brews at a great restaurant called YEAH! Burger and then drove over to the Georgia Dome to take in the game. This was my first time visiting the Georgia Dome and second time seeing the Bengals play a game on the road (I saw the Bengals defeat the Tennessee Titans 24-17 in a regular season game in Nashville in 2011). We kept our eyes peeled for fellow Bengal fans as we entered the stadium, our seats where in the top part of the upper deck (section 342) and we were surrounded by Falcons fan as expected.
The Bengals first team offense did some good things in their short time on the field but hurt themselves with penalties by the offensive line which we’ll choose to attribute to early jitters. The first team defense also made a few early mistakes in the first quarter, the biggest was when Leon Hall came off the side on a corner blitz which Matt Ryan picked up and hit Harry Douglas on a big 42 yard gain. It looked to me like Terrance Newman made a poor attempt to tackle the receiver as well towards the end of the play. The D toughened up though and only allowed a field goal on the drive. Once the 2nd team came on the field it really felt like the Bengals were the better team for the rest of the game. On offense Josh Johnson made big plays with both his legs and his arm, he had a big 43 yard run to set up a field goal and threw a TD to Brandon Take in the 2nd quarter. Rookie RB Giovani Bernard flashed at times and rushed for a 1 yard TD and also WR Dane Sanzenbacher caught a TD and returned a punt for a TD. On defense JK Shaffer seemed to be all over the place making solid tackles and un-drafted LB Jayson DiManche had a solid game recording a sack and another tackle for loss, I thought Dre Kirkpatrick and Chris Lewis-Harris had solid games for the secondary as well.
The Bengals 2nd and 3rd units looked strong, as a matter of fact, many of our backups look like they could start for some other teams in the league. The final score was 34-10 Cincy, it was fun to see a lopsided Bengals win and to give each other high fives and shout “Who Dey”!