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Offense's first two possessions set the tone early

I think one of the crucial part of today's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, was how successful the Bengals offense was at sustaining drives on the game's first two possessions; Fitzpatrick's performance on the team's opening two possessions was simply brilliant.

On third-and-two, at the Cincinnati 24-yard line, Fitzpatrick scrambled for 18 yards picking up the team's first down of the day (9:14). On third-and-10, after Houshmandzadeh committed a false start, Fitzpatrick turned to Houshmandzadeh for 16 yards. After the Jaguars were called for encroachment giving the Bengals offense a first-and-goal at the two-yard line, Fitzpatrick faked a handoff to Benson, and completed a touch pass to Chad Johnson for the touchdown and the game's opening points. It's the first touchdown by the Bengals offense in the first quarter this season.

The team's scoring drive went 14 plays, 84 yards for 7:51.

After the defense forced a Jaguars three-and-out, Fitzpatrick completed a ten yard pass on third-and-seven to Chris Perry; who lined up wide left for ten yards. Highlighted by plays that picked up chunks of yardage on first and second down, the biggest "to-go" on third down, was on third-and-five; Fitzpatrick completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Johnson.

On the team's second scoring drive of the game, the Bengals offense went 10 plays for 88 yards in 4:23.

Unfortunately, the Bengals wouldn't match double-digit plays or the yardage for the rest of the game. Fortunately, they wouldn't need to; provided the defense held and special teams didn't, oh I don't know, fumble on kickoff return and the recovering team takes the football to the house (all on the same damned play).

I'm certainly not going to cry about the Bengals offense today; however Fitzpatrick's performance severely slopes and the team's rushing effort in the fourth quarter isn't indicative of how successful football teams eat clock to put teams away -- Benson had six yards on eight rushes in the fourth quarter.

However, I really wanted to highlight the team's first two possessions; converting their first five third down attempts -- including two "no play" conversions (on third down) after Jaguars defensive penalties (encroachment, pass interference).

On the team's first two drives, Fitzpatrick completed of 11 of 14 passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns -- including all 52 yards rushing on scrambles (and a QB draw). On the team's nine possessions after that, Fitzpatrick really digressed completing 10 of 17 passes for 85 yards and an interception -- 47.4 passer rating.

Quarter Att. Comp Yards TD Int Rating
1 8 7 47 1 0 130.7
2 11 9 53 1 0 117.0
3 6 2 20 0 1 4.2
4 6 3 42 0 0 72.9
First H. 19 16 100 2 0 123.7
Second H 12 5 62 0 1 23.6
  31 21 162 2 1 88.4