I made the 4 hour drive north from Nashville to Cincinnati this past Friday to see the Bengals host the Minnesota Vikings as they played preseason game number one. I arrived downtown about an hour before kickoff, found parking rather quickly downtown, scampered a few blocks over to the nearest Chipotle and scarfed down some tacos. I then walked a few blocks to Paul Brown Stadium to wait for my dad and two nephews to arrive as I was holding their tickets. I sat outside near the Pro Shop where I found some much needed shade. I could hear the “Star Spangled Banner” being sung in the background while I sat sweating bullets…in the shade.
I missed kickoff and the first offensive and defensive series by the Bengals which basically meant I missed watching all of the starters play in this game. I was able to hear A.J. Green make 3 receptions over the loud speaker and Mike Nugent miss a 48 yard field goal.
A few minutes later my guys arrived and we made our way to the third deck about halfway into the first quarter. We witnessed a nice long methodical drive by the Bengals offense lead by A.J. McCarron which ended with zero points after moving the football 89 yards on 22 plays. The Vikings took over at their own 4 yard line which lead to the Bengals backups missing a golden opportunity to get a Safety and take a 2 point lead, instead the Vikings drove down the field and Teddy Bridgewater threw a 49 yard touchdown to WR Charles Johnson who smoked Bengals CB Chykie Brown on the play.
We witnessed a lot of sub par football but there were some bright spots such as the play of rookie LB Nick Vigil who seemed to be all over the place and made some nice plays, also the young WR group did fairly well as Cody Core had 3 receptions, Tyler Boyd had a stellar 40 yard diving reception just before Alex Erickson scored the 1st TD of the preseason with a 3 yard grab from McCarron. The best and most electric play of the night for the Bengals came late in the 4th quarter when Alex Erickson returned a punt over 80 yards for a touchdown to cut the Vikings lead to one point with less than 3 minutes left in the game. Coach Lewis elected to go for the 2 point conversion which failed and the Bengals came up a hair short on the scoreboard losing by a final score of 17-16. The good thing is the team finished the game without any major injuries occurring as a result of the game and we are now less than 1 month away from regular season football!