After looking at Andy Dalton's first and only drive with the first team a couple of days ago, today we will go straight to the second half, and analyze a number of plays that caught my attention for different reasons.
Some of the plays have already been broken down by great football mind Joe Goodberry and this time we will also focus on defense.
In this period the Kansas City Chief will only have the ball for 3 minutes (2:58 to be right) but they managed to increase this lead, from 27-24 to 34-24 thanks to a pick six off Jason Campbell (that was a really poor throw from the veteran quarterback). Nonetheless the Bengals got back to it and got to the red zone by the final break thanks to a great defensive effort by the entire team.
We will kick off with the first play from the line of scrimmage, with Jeremy Hill's last action of the day (who, by the way, left a good taste averaging 6 yards per attempt in 6 carries and scoring second best ProFootballFocus.com's grade on rushing, only behind of Matt Scott).
This was his longest and finest run, gaining 9 up the middle behind a good second level block by back up center Trevor Robinson. Tanner Hawkinson and Trey Hopkins also did their job on the left side, allowing a clean lane for Hill.
Although snap is high, Campbell manages to feed Hill quickly and the rookie from LSU goes hard against the defense. This play drew comparisons to Rudi Johnson on twitter. He takes advantage of the hole created by Robinson, who blocks the first Chiefs' ILB that attempts to invade the lane.
We will fast forward now to the Bengals' second drive of the quarter, but you Joe Goodberry broke down nicely Campbell's second six pick of the evening on twitter in case you want to check it down.
This play starts on CIN-23 and 2nd & 7 and Rex Burkhead is going to get the job done with a run to the left end, helped by good blocks from Tate in the second level and James Wright, who despite facing a way bigger defensive lineman is able to hold him off (although using some suspicious technice, but hey!)
Wright's block lets Tanner Hawkinson arrive from left tackle and keep the away side of the lane safe for Burkhead.
The offensive line's right side does a good job and eventual right guard TJ Johnson takes ILB James-Michael Johnson (one of the Chiefs players heralded by his effort on Thursday) out of play in the second level.
Burkhead, faster than some might think, runs through the lane and gets 9 yards and the first down, also executing two great moves to avoid Burden's man (Bengals #79). This carry would be, along with Hill's previous one, the longest by any Cincinnati's running back in the game. Credit to Tate on this one as well.
Next play will be Whitlock's first with the team as fullback (he only got 6 snaps), and he is going to show some impressive strenght, helping Burkhead get 4 yards, opening up the lane up the middle and pushing pitylessly the opponent's LB, which is something a fullback has in his duties list.
Block starts at the line of scrimmage and the former defensive tackle is going to take it a couple of yards further, but the right guard is unable to check his man, that gets inside and stops Burkhead from gaining extra yards.
Overall Whitlock did not look bad, although we cannot forget he was playing against lesser competition. ProFootballFocus.com gave him a +1.0, tied with Robinson and Tate in third position, trailing only Zeitler and Hopkins (grades are accumulated).
Now let's take a look at the defense, after Jason Campbell left the game and the Bengals ended up punting. Kansas City's quarterback, Tyler Bray (with three preseason games as NFL experience), is going to get sacked by Margus Hunt, who takes his man out with a very strong and impressive power move.
We should also credit Christo Bilukidi, who gets his hand all over Bray's face and makes the quarterback hold on to the football for too long trying to make a play. The Canadian big man had a great outing, and he is making strides to become the Bengals' fourth defensive tackle (Geoff Hobson from Bengals.com had him as defensive end, so his versatility could be something Paul Guenther finds useful).
Bengals defense does a great job overall, covering every single Chiefs receiver and letting Bray no where to go.
Chiefs receiver is open on the left side but Bilukidi is quick and threatens the pass. Danieal Manning reacts as well and closes the gap down there. RJ Stanford should be credited here as well for he does a good job pressuring the wide receiver on defense's right side.
Hunt's play has been debated already so we cannot add anything else but credit the rest of Guenther's squad for the effort.
The big Estonian punt blocker machine was graded as best defensive player for the Bengals on that game (+2.6), but he scored a -0.1 on run defense, and we are going to see why. He gets completely checked by the same man he destroyed before and only a nice play by Dre Kirkpatrick avoids further impact.
Middle linebacker goes straight to the hole when he sees Kansas City's fullback going up the middle, and the tight end is going to step in blocking Marquis Flowers, leaving the right end open for the running back. Hunt is out and but Kirkpatrick will help there when he sees his man going up against the safety. The tight end plays it nicely and faces Hunt first to slowing him down, and allowing his right tackle to arrive and block him out of the action.
Marquis Flowers got credited for the tackle, but Kirkpatrick was the hero there. The Chiefs only get 4 yards but damage could have been worse had he been able to avoid the cornerback's tackle.
On 3rd & 9 at KC48 the Bengals have a great chance to stop their opponents but let it slide away. Chiefs go with 4 WR and a TE, and Cincinnati's nickle formation has Mays and Rey as linebackers. Manning takes one of them and Shawn Williams stays deep. Kansas will get 30 yards easily, but play could have gone otherwise.
Hunt and Moch did get to the quarterback but failed to finish the play, and when the tight end is let go by Rey (who is in zone coverage) Bray is going to find him deep in the middle of the field.
Cincinnati though is going to make up for it and after a great coverage sack (gives Moch a lot of time to get to the quarterback), the preseason sack machine forces a fumble and the Bengals have the ball back again.
All receivers are covered and Bray, again, holds on to the football for way too long.
The quarterback is looking again for his tight end but, instead of leading him to the open space, he sees Vincent Rey going there and decides to take another look. Left tackle is unable to keep Moch off and he starts pursuing Bray, who is now running for his life straight to Hunts arms, who is also getting free.
Moch will nonetheless make a good job placing his arms around Bray and stripping him of the ball.
Pass coverage is great, and Kirkpatrick is one of the names most pundits and fans have in mind. He had the best grade for the Bengals in the game, scoring a +1 and even though Chiefs' third team offense, it is worth mentioning it.
Now Cincy has the ball in his own 25 and Matt Scott is going to start the drive with a very high pass that was saved by Jasper Collins' impressive effort. Brock and Peerman are going to block, and Collins and Sanzenbacher are going to cross on the right side, leaving James Wright open on the left angle.
The cross is going to set Sanzenbacher free, but Scott decides to go for Collins, who has some adventage over his man but the spot is tight.
He is going to throw on his back foot, high and slow, to give his receiver time to turn back and catch the football. The problem is the ball went too high, but Collins is going to savage the play jumping and doing a good job of positioning himself between the football and the defender.
A first down and eleven yards, but the pass was bad. Scott is going to deliver though a couple of plays later, connecting on a slant route with James Wright on the right side for 11 yards and a first down again.
Next play we are going to focus on is this run by Cedric Peerman that does not get any positive yard and where Trevor Robinson's positive day goes all bad.
Brock plays fullback here and has to block in the second level but his effort goes nowhere because of Robinson's failure to contain the nose tackle.
Hawkinson and Brock reach the second level, but look how fast the opposing tackle torches past the center and gets to Peerman to stop him.
The Bengals are going to build up a bit of momentum though and after a scramble from Matt Scott and a good run by Peerman they are in the red zone, 1st & 10 at KC15. Two wide receivers and Brock and Whitlock blocking.
But the play action is denied and the five men blitz by the Chiefs is going to score them one of the only two sacks they produced in the game (Cincy got 6). Had the line stayed solid, James Wright would have been open for his men let him pass, waiting to see how the play developped. Dan France, playing right guard is supposed to leave his place to block on the left side, but the nose tackle gets again through the center's right side and gets the sack.
France was actually going to the right spot, helping TJ Johnson and Hawkinson who were about to facing up three men. No punishment was inflicted because after a Chiefs penalty the Bengals are again on first down and Peerman is going to gain 7 yards up the middle in the quarter's very last play.
Snap is again high, but Scott manages (as Campbell did) to give it off quickly and Peerman goes hard to the hole, with the interior offensive lineman (TJ Johnson and Robinson) plus Brock blocking in the second level. France is again the weak link, and his man gets underneath and is very close to stopping Peerman, but he stays his ground on amazing fashion and scrambles to go further.
Brock does a good job and TJ Johnson takes out two men, letting the lane open for Peerman, who is finally taken down but the Chiefs are going to need at least 6 men in order to do so.
Peerman and Burkhead had nice efforts to solidify their chances to make the final roster.