Let's keep one thing in mind, while winning the football game would have been nice, it's important to note that the team is far more concerned about individual performances, cohesiveness and situational downs and their results. There will be things and situations that the team practices in order to learn and fix issues that need to be fixed before the regular season starts. Their Red Zone performance was alright; they had two trips, scored one touchdown and The Franchise, Shayne Graham, missed a 30-yard field goal.
However, the issue wasn't so much what they did in the Red Zone as it was getting into the Red Zone. You could also translate that into scoring points. On the first series, Cedric Benson fumbles. On the second series, after an incomplete and reverse, Carson Palmer hits Daniel Coats, falling about two yards shy of a first down. Punt. On the third series, Palmer is intercepted on a terribly thrown pass behind Andre Caldwell. Luckily Caldwell ran down Jonathan Vilma and stripped the football while Andrew Whitworth hustled from behind and recovered the fumble.
It took the team into the fourth series of the game before the Bengals made it into the Red Zone. Impressively enough, the team started the series at their own four-yard line. Palmer hit Chad Ochocinco on 18 and 55 yard completions before the quarterback left the game with an ankle sprain. The offense sputtered at the New Orleans 13-yard line and three plays later, Shayne Graham missed on a 30-yard field goal attempt to take the lead. After a 39-yard pass to Chris Henry on the next series, the Bengals go three plays then punt.
It took Cincinnati until the 4:54 mark in the second quarter before scoring their lone points of the game. Starting at their own 32-yard line, the Bengals went 13 plays and 68 yards, which ended with a beautifully thrown pass by J.T. O'Sullivan to Chris Henry down the left side of the endzone. The Bengals tied the game with 11 seconds left in the First Half.
Six drives. Two punts. Two turnovers. Missed field goal and finally a touchdown. While there were some good plays in between, the truth is, the Bengals scored seven points in the First Half. Mistakes and two turnovers played a huge factor. So did the inability to sustain drives -- two possessions that weren't turnovers only went four plays. They did have two drives that went ten plays or more, and 68 yards or more, only scoring seven points between them.
The second half was worse. Much worse. Five drives ended with four punts and an interception. Granted, the second half is probably less critical to examine than the first half because it's very unlikely that the players playing in the second half will play as a unit. Several players will get snaps in the regular season, and it's important to note how they perform, while several others, over 20 in fact, won't even make the team.
One of the running storylines that we should note through the next two preseason games, is drive sustainability, as well as scoring more than seven points.