The Cincinnati Bengals looked good on Sunday, even if the scoreboard didn’t. A 23-17 loss to the Washington Redskins doesn’t seem so bad when you consider how well the Cincinnati starters played. Andy Dalton performed like his usual self and remained upright thanks to a solid effort by the offensive line. The team rushed for 137 yards. Yet again, ends Jordan Willis, Chris Smith and Carl Lawson got sacks. You get the feeling that the team is starting to get excited about the regular season. We know we are.
How Things Went
The first drive featured just about everything you could want. It was a 15-play, 87-yard effort that took almost 9 minutes off the clock and ended with a touchdown. Even more impressive was that the Cincinnati Bengals accounted for 99% of the offense in the first quarter. You read that right. There were 100 yards gained from scrimmage in the first 15 minutes. Washington had one of them. You walk 10 times farther than that to use the john at the commercial break.
Andy Dalton went 8/13 for 70 yards and looked comfy in the pocket. AJ Green caught 4 of the 6 passes that came his way. Giovanni Bernard averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Aw yeah.
Cincinnati Bengals Player of the Game
Dalton and Green looked in mid-season form, and the first-teamers balled out well enough. But our vote goes to Vontaze Burfict, who continues to play like his jockstrap is filled with piranha. He made four tackles and returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown. He capped it off by jumping over the end zone wall and into the high-price seats. No word yet on whether Redskins owner Dan Snyder will bill him for the 11 seconds he impersonated a season-ticket holder.
What This Means Going Forward
After the poor showing against Kansas City last week, this game should be reassuring to Cincinnati Bengals players and fans alike. The team played sharp. If that kind of execution carries over into Week 1 vs Baltimore, then Bengal fans will be smiling very big very soon.