While it is most commonly referred to as the pre-season, in Cincinnati, we may start calling it Dane Sanzenbacher season. For a guy who is not sure what his role will be on this team, Sanzenbacher sure knows how to make an impression in the pre-season.
Once again, Sanzenbacher was a linchpin for the offense in a key moment. While the stat sheet shows only two catches for 46 yards and a touchdown, the point is the kid made the play when his number was called. Much like last season, when the team needed him, Sanzenbacher has stepped up. I really hope the Bengals find a way to involve him more in the offense, as he can be an exciting player to watch.
The other interesting thing about No.11 last night was that he was back to return kickoffs. In an offseason where the talents of Brandon Tate have been questioned, a strong showing from Sanzenbacher could be a step on the road to Tate leaving this team. It was a small sample, but enough to feed the hunger of fans who want another option. Sanzenbacher finished the night with 3 returns and a 29 yd average.
The current Bengals third string quarterback also made a nice showing. Was it nerves or something else that Matt Scott had to get out before he was able to connect on a touchdown pass of his own? As our own Brennan Warner dubbed it the "puke, puke, pass play", Scott composed himself to lead Conner Vernon perfectly for a touch down pass to cut into the Chiefs lead. Scott finished with 7 completions for 66 yards and 2 touchdowns. Theses are the kind of performances he would need to have in order to supplant Jason Campbell or A.J. McCarron on the Bengals roster.
Lastly and probably the most non-surprising coming from me, I want to highlight Andy Dalton. The sample size was small but he efficiently moved the offense down the field on the Bengals opening drive. As a matter of fact, the offense moving into the red zone looked effortless. I will continue to be the homer and chalk up the misses to Tyler Eifert and Mohamed Sanu as rust. The first three throws of Dalton's season are the kinds of things you want to see from a guy who just signed on to be your quarterback for the future.
It may have been a loss in the books, but it was fun watching real football last night.