What a difference a short week can make! After two unimpressive games against the Lions and Jets, in which the Bengals starting offense only managed to put up 10 points, the first-string offense managed 21 points in the first half against the Panthers.
After going scoreless in the first quarter and allowing Cam Newton to run for a 26-yard touchdown, the Bengals took control of the game in the second quarter. Their first scoring drive was all Cedric Benson. He carried the ball 16 times for 68 yards and a touchdown.
On the very next drive, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton and A.J. Green each recorded their first touchdowns as professional football players. Dalton hit Green streaking down the field for a 40-yard touchdown pass.
Then, just to make up for disappointing us in the first two games, the Bengals recovered a fumble after Armanti Edwards muffed a Bengals punt. That led to a 12-yard Bernard Scott touchdown run.
Just before the half, they scored their final three points on A 55-YARD FIELD GOAL from Mike Nugent. If the second quarter isn't an offensive confidence booster, I don't know what is.
The Bengals defense has looked just as impressive. They have been chasing Cam Newton all over the backfield without needed to send much extra pressure and, despite a few runs here and there, they haven't allowed much on the ground either.
This is the team that we had all hoped to see come into the 2011 season. Hopefully they keep it up in the second half.