Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Preseason Game No. 1: Bengals at Falcons

We'll be having updates, notes, and observations throughout Cincinnati's preseason opener here.

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24 Total Updates since August 8, 2013
  • Important 23
  • Updates 11
  • Articles 13
  • All Updates 24

Hawkins' Misfortune Could Be Sanzenbacher's Gain

With the uncertainty of the length of time that slot receiver Andrew Hawkins will be missing, a door might be opening for Dane Sanzenbacher to make the Bengals' final roster if he continues to perform well.

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Other WR and TE Stock Fall After Atlanta

Other than Brandon Tate and Dane Sanzenbacher, no other receiver did much of anything worth noting on Thursday night. It's a shame because with three top receivers out with injuries, not many others stepped up.

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Brandon Tate's Stock Rose With Preseason Game No.1

Though he has been the object of scorn from many Bengals fans, Brandon Tate showed on Thursday night that he can be more than just a kick return man.

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Coming In As Advertised: Running Back Gio Bernard

The Bengals are excited about what they think they will be able to do with rookie running back, Giovani Bernard. He flashed some of those skills on Thursday night against the Falcons.

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RB Burkhead's Stock Rose After Preseason Game No.1

Bengals running back Rex Burkhead had the chance to get some action late in the Thursday night preseason opener against the Falcons and took advantage of his opportunities.

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Backup CBs Stock Rise After Preseason Game No.1

We take a look at some of the Bengals players who shined in the first preseason game. We would be remiss if we left out the backup defensive backs.

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Five players that helped their cause

The third and fourth quarter of a preseason game can be a snoozer at times, but for the players playing, it's a matter of continuing their NFL careers.

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Snap Counts against the Falcons

Taking a look at the snap distribution by the Bengals offense and defense during Cincinnati's 34-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

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Marvin Lewis: Hawkinson Injury Appears Not Serious

Even though there was a lot to cheer about in the Bengals trouncing of the Falcons on Thursday night, a somber moment occurred when backup offensive lineman Tanner Hawkinson went down with an injury.

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Bengals beat the Falcons 34-10

The Cincinnati Bengals opened the preseason with a dominant performance, further solidifying the team's depth on the roster. And there was some impressive performances.

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Hawkinson leaves game with an ankle injury

The Bengals secured a win over the Atlanta Falcons, but Hawkinson needed a cart after suffering an ankle injury.

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Brandon Ghee leaves with a head injury

The fourth-year cornerback was making strides to finally have the year he's needed to sustain his Bengals career.

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Sanzenbacher's second touchdown expands the lead

The Bengals are piling it on now.

And if Dane Sanzenbacher doesn't make the 53-man roster with the Bengals, he will find a home somewhere. With 13:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, third-string quarterback John Skelton settles in shotgun with Dan Sanzenbacher in the right slot.

At the snap, Sanzenbacher sprints down the middle on a vertical route, leaving the cornerback in man coverage behind. Skelton quickly identified and threw a perfect pass down the seem to Sanzenbacher, who scored the 36-yard touchdown reception and giving Cincinnati a 34-10 lead.

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Sanzenbacher's adds seven on 71-yard return for TD

Things have reached a point where second-team players are intermixed with third team units, which is comprised of players fighting hard to make the 53-man roster. In a way things get very sloppy and uncoordinated. Despite that, the Bengals offense strung together a ten-play drive that ended with a 47-yard Quinn Sharp field goal, to give Cincinnati a 20-10 lead.

A quick three-and-out, capped by a nice Jayson DiManche tackle and a pass knocked down by Devon Still, led to a punt.

Dane Sanzenbacher hauls in the football, redirected twice, and found an open lane for the 71-yard touchdown return to help break open the score, 27-10.

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Bernard and Bengals take 17-3 half time lead

Brandon Ghee gave Cincinnati a perfect opportunity to expand their seven-point lead in the second quarter, picking off the football at midfield with 2:35 remaining in the first half.

And thus, we welcome you to the Giovani Bernard shot.

Three consecutive runs that gained 11 yards put Cincinnati on Atlanta's 42-yard line. After a Richard Quinn 11-yard reception and a timeout, the Bengals have first down from their own 29-yard line.

And for a moment, the drive stalled with a four-yard loss by Giovani and an incomplete that targeted the running back over the middle. Now the Bengals have a third-and-14 from the Falcons 33-yard line.

Ryan Whalen, fighting for a spot on the roster, imitates a corner route but turns back to the quarterback for a 24-yard gain to the nine-yard line. The Bengals use their second time out with :38 seconds remaining.

Johnson tried to scramble with his legs, but gained only three yards. Johnson urgently regroups offense at the line of scrimmage with the clock slowly expiring, but overthrows Cobi Hamilton out of the back of the endzone. That's fine. The clock stopped at :13.

Third and six from the Falcons six-yard line, Johnson hands off to Giovani Bernard from shotgun, who found a lane but couldn't power his way beyond the one-yard line. Preseason. What the hell. John Connor lead blocks to the right, but Bernard cuts underneath and scores the easy touchdown, giving Cincinnati a 17-3 half-time lead.

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Ghee records the first pick of the preseason

Scrambling out of bounds trying to avoid Margus Hunt's hot pursuit, quarterback Dominque Davis jumped into the air to find an open receiver down the right sidelines.

Bad idea.

With 2:35 remaining in the first half, Davis found Drew Davis coming back to the quarterback. So the Davis (the quarterback), leapt into the air to avoid stepping out of bounds and flung the football across his body.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, Brandon Ghee powers through the receiver and snags the first interception of the preseason.

The Bengals have the football on the Falcons' side of the field at the two minute warning.

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Bengals take 10-3 lead on Johnson's 21-yard TD

Securing a tie with a ten-play drive using his legs early in the second quarter, quarterback Josh Johnson one-upped himself, leading Cincinnati with their first touchdown drive on the season. So it was greatly assisted by a 31-yard pass interference against the Falcons, helping Cincinnati convert a third-and-eight. But who cares. That's football.

From their own 36-yard line with 9:17 remaining in the second quarter, Cedric Peerman powered three consecutive runs for 15 yards.

With second-and-eight from the Falcons 21-yard line, Johnson finds Brandon Tate's slant on the left and fires the fast ball into his gut for the touchdown.

Cincinnati takes a 10-3 lead, with Johnson impressively moving Cincinnati's offense (though against backup defensive players for the Falcons). But who cares. That's football.

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Johnson's legs leads to a Nugent field goal

It wasn't pretty for the team's first-team offense. After a first quarter that saw consecutive possessions end with a punt, Josh Johnson led the Bengals on a ten-play drive during their fourth possession from their own 21-yard line.

And Johnson powered most of it on his own.

With 13:46 remaining in the second quarter, Johnson pulled down the football on second down and breached the line of scrimmage for a 43-yard gain. A handful of plays later, Johnson added another 14 yards, converting a third-and-seven to Atlanta's 20-yard line.

Eventually the possession stalled in the red zone with a Anthony Collins false start, a quarterback sack, and an inadvisable throw over the middle into double coverage.

Mike Nugent converted a 32-yard field goal to tie the game at three.

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Johnson led offense goes three-and-out

After two error-filled drives by the starting Bengals offense, backup quarterback Josh Johnson joined the first-team offensive line and wide receivers with Giovani Bernard in the backfield. Following consecutive runs by Bernard, accumulating a combined seven yards, the Bengals have third-and-three from their own 17-yard line.

Johnson takes the shotgun snap and floated the football down the right sidelines, targeting Mohamed Sanu who was in single-coverage.

Slightly overthrown (and maybe a little jostling from the cornerback), the football falls incomplete and the Bengals punt.

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Offensive rookie stars introduced

Nice play design.

As Giovani Bernard joined the first-team offense during the team's second possession, Andy Dalton claps his hands behind the center in shotgun with Bernard flanking to his left. Giovani flared out in a wheel route towards the left sidelines, forcing the outside linebacker to step out, opening the hitch route for Jermaine Gresham. Eleven yards and the first down.

Tyler Eifert joined the rookie symposium of awesome in Atlanta. Following a thrown-away pass to avoid Osi Umenyiora's pass rush against Anthony Collins, Tyler Eifert ran a corner route and gained a handful of yards. Unfortunately it was called back with an illegal use of hands.

The possession ended after an overthrown lob to Giovani Bernard's screen pass leading to a third-and-20 check down pass to Bernard, who gained 16 yards against a prevent-like defense.

Bengals punt.

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Harrison making his presence known early

James Harrison has already made his presence known.

On first and ten from the Falcons 34-yard line with 13:47 remaining in the first quarter, Harrison transitioned into attack dog mode by driving into the blocker, disrupting the blocking schemes and knocking the guard into the running back.

The stopped momentum by the running back, combined by Harrison's never-ending motor, led to a stop for no-gain.

You're also seeing Harrison aggressively driving into the fullback, even during counters and play-actions; which we suppose are designed blitzes (runs and passes).

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Bengals opening possession ends with a punt

At least we couldn't say it wasn't expected.

The Bengals offense opened the game from their own 22-yard line with a double-tight formation, putting Jermaine Gresham and rookie Tyler Eifert on the line of scrimmage. Fake handoff to the right opened Gresham's flair route on the left, allowing Gresham to haul in the pass and gain 10 yards.

Nice start.

Following back-to-back runs by Green-Ellis, the second gained 11 yards, Dalton under-threw Brandon Tate's out-route and Clint Boling was flagged for a false start, setting up a third-and-12. Ryan Whalen ran a deep curl route beyond the first down marker, but Dalton's throw was slightly delayed getting to the receiver, allowing the defense to disrupt the reception.

Dalton completes one of three passes for 10 yards (Jermaine Gresham's reception).

Bengals punt.

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Falcons take 3-0 lead after 42-yard reception

It opened with the familiar efficiency of Matt Ryan, popping quick passes in between tough ground yards by Falcons running back Steven Jackson. After deferring the opening coin toss, the Bengals defense opened the game. And it wasn't long before Atlanta had a big gain.

On second-and ten from the Falcons 34-yard line, Ryan takes the snap and flips the ball to Henry Douglas on a quick bubble screen. Several well-placed blocks later, Douglas broke free down the left sidelines before he was stopped on the 42-yard reception.

Eventually the Falcons possession stalled with a four-yard run by Jackson, followed by an inadvisable Roddy White completion that went from a first down to a shuffle behind the first down marker to pick up more yards.Jackson took the third-and-two handoff, immediately dropped by Geno Atkins and Robert Geathers for a three-yard loss.

The Falcons convert a 37-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

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