Second Half Open Thread: Cincinnati Bengals At New York Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 21: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to pass against the New York Jets during their pre season game on August 21, 2011 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton faced a rough start Sunday night against the New York Jets. Yet even that little phrase, rough start, doesn't really capture the essence of how horrible this offense was. A three-and-out to start the game isn't that bad. It happens. Yet when passes weren't overthrown, A.J. Green missed catchable passes and even Jerome Simpson's timing was off. And when the Bengals went three-and-out during their third drive of the game, the possession opened with a fumble exchange between Dalton and Cedric Benson that lost 17 yards. Compounding the situation, the team was flagged for illegal substitution. Dalton underthrows, wide right, left and an overthrown pass to Andre Caldwell led to a Jim Leonard interception that setup New York's field goal.

Yet when all of that went down, the Bengals were only faced with a ten-point deficit. With over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Bengals offense posted an 11-play, 70-yard touchdown drive, reducing Cincinnati's deficit to three points; Dalton settled down completing six of eight passes for 68 yards. Twice Dalton completed passes on third-and-long for first downs on a touchdown drive that was capped with a one-yard Brian Leonard run. The Jets and Bengals would go on to exchange punts until Fred Bennett (who is our first lock to be CUT) observes Plaxico Burress from behind hauling in a 26-yard touchdown, giving New York a 17-7 first half lead.

Of Note...

  • After such a rough start, much like his first start against the Detroit Lions last week, Dalton settled in and ran two sustained drives that picked up multiple first downs; the first picked up a touchdown, the second stalled and forced a punt.
  • The Bengals rush defense is clearly the best overall unit tonight, at one point holding the Jets to 10 rushes for 11 yards rushing.
  • Leon Hall played much better this week, with strong tackles and a pass defensed that was nearly picked.
  • Clinton McDonald continues to play out of his mind, holding his own against the Jets defensive line.
  • Mike Zimmer and the pass defense called more blitzes this week and the result was noticeable.
  • Speaking of which Reggie Nelson played a lot on the line of scrimmage, if not blitzing the quarterback, capably giving the defense quality run support.
  • Michael Johnson had some good passes rushes, and blew up Sanchez during the Jets two-minute drive.
  • Brian Leonard was overall the team's best contributor in the first half for the offense.
  • Kevin Huber had a leg that would have won World War II two years before it ended.
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