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Film Review: Bengals Offense Struggles in the First Quarter -- Part One

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Editor's Note: This post is part one of a film review detailing every Bengals offensive play in the first quarter. This post details the first, second and third drive of the first quarter.

The Bengals offense started the game against the New York Jets in a similar manner that they did against the Lions -- ugly. The Bengals got the ball first on Sunday night. Jamere Holland received the opening kickoff six yards deep in the Bengals end zone and decided to not take a knee. He had an impressive return that brought the ball out to the 34-yard line, but thanks to a holding call in Dan Skuta, the ball was placed back at the Bengals own 10-yard line.

First Drive: Three-And-Out

The first play in the game was not a deep pass down the sideline to A.J. Green. It was a five-yard run up the middle by Benson. The offensive line, especially the interior line, did their job on the play. Andre Smith pushed his man out of the way. Nate Livings chipped Kyle Cook's man to give Cook more control over him and then took the inside linebacker out of the play. Benson was hit by Andrew Whitworth's man, Muhammad Wilkerson, who lined up inside of Whitworth and slanted in towards the play. Benson was brought down after five yards.

The next play, the Bengals ran the ball again, but this time, Benson only gained two yards, bringing the Bengals to the 17-yard line and setting up third-and-three.

Dalton set up in the shotgun with Brian Leonard and Chris Pressley on either side of him. A.J. Green was lined up on the outside on the left with Jordan Shipley in the slot. Jerome Simpson was wide right. Dalton took the snap and the Jets sent some extra pressure on the left in the form of Jamaal Westerman and Kyle Wilson. The offensive line did a good job on picking up the pressure and Dalton had enough time to drop back and step into his throw. Simpson ran a quick slant and was open but Dalton's pass was thrown well above his head, which would be a theme for much of the first half.

Second Drive: Interception

The very first play of the Bengals second offensive drive was the last play of the drive. The Bengals set up at their own 33-yard line after a failed field goal attempt from Nick Folk. Dalton set up in shotgun with Benson to his left. Shipley and Simpson were bunched up on the left side of the field with Green wide right. Bo Scaife came in motion from the right side of the line to the left. Dalton took the snap and threw to Green on a quick slant. The ball went in and out of Green's hands and right into the hands of Eric Smith. The interception was returned inside the 15-yard line and the Jets scored on the next drive.

Third Drive: Three-And-Out

Even though the Bengals didn't turn the ball over during the third drive of the game, the drive was just as ugly as the first two drives. On the first play, the Bengals set up at the 20-yard line. The Bengals set up in a single-back formation with Benson in the backfield. The first play was supposed to be a run to the left side, but the exchange from quarterback to running back was fumbled. Benson tried to pick up the football but it was kicked backwards. A mad dash of players diving after the football ensued and finally the ball was shot out of bounds at the Bengals two-yard line. Immediately following, the Bengals were flagged for having 12 men in the huddle and the ball was moved back to the one-yard line.

What can go wrong will go wrong, right?

On the second play of the drive, with 29 yards to go to get to the first-down marker, Benson took the hand off and plunged ahead for one yard. On the third play, the Bengals decided to run the ball again instead of forcing their rookie quarterback to try to make a 28-yard pass out of their own end zone. Benson took the hand off again and went right. Andre Smith and Bobbie Williams blocked well, pushing the right side of the line out of the play and Nate Livings pulled right, aiming for a linebacker. He found middle linebacker David Harris, but Harris slid off the block and stopped Benson after a gain of seven yards. Then Huber came in and kicked a monster punt for 77 yards. Obviously, he was wearing his nuclear-powered rocket boot on this play.