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Bengals vs Buccaneers: Winners and Losers

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It wasn't pretty. Cincinnati took an uppercut on the chin during Tampa Bay's 25-11 win over the hapless Bengals. We take a look at some winners and losers from Monday Night's game.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Winners:

Tom Obarski. Describing Cincinnati's first half offense against the Buccaneers as "bad" would be an understatement. For as celebratory people were last Friday against the Giants, Cincinnati's performance on Monday should produce a few alarms; especially from the overreactionary crowd. Eventually the Bengals settled down and pieced together a 65-yard drive, capped by a Tom Obarski 37-yard field goal to reduce Tampa Bay's ridiculous 20-point halftime lead. It might have been the Bengals biggest highlight during Tampa's 25-11 win on Monday; what does that tell you?

America. AJ McCarron finally played, man! And it wasn't bad. McCarron, who completed 11 of 15 passes for 97 yards passing, pieced together an 80-yard touchdown drive, capped by a James Wilder Jr. touchdown, reducing Cincinnati's deficit, 25-11.

Chris Carter. One of the latest training camp bloomers is linebacker Chris Carter, who has taken advantage of the amount of repetitions he's seen as of late. With 9:08 remaining in the third, Carter and safety Shawn Williams diverged on quarterback Mike Glennon, sacking the quarterback and forcing a 50-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide-left. Carter added another quarterback sack earlier in the game with 1:55 remaining in the second. Carter also added a tackle for loss and two additional hits on the quarterback.

The Goal-line Stand. Cincinnati collectively stood tall against Tampa Bay at the start of the fourth quarter. Running back Dominique Brown couldn't break through the treacherous line of scrimmage with stops by safety Shiloh Keo and linebacker Trevor Roach. That led to a fourth-and-goal situation from the Bengals' one-yard line. Dawson split the blockers and met Brown in the backfield, forcing a turnover on downs. Tampa Bay still scored points when Cedric Peerman was stuffed in the backfield for a safety.

James Wilder Jr. Son of famous Buccaneers running back James Wilder Sr., Junior scored a touchdown with 2:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, as well as the subsequent two-point conversion to reduce Cincinnati's deficit, 25-11.

Losers:

First team defense. Every throw made by quarterback Jameis Winston during the opening drives divinely parted the field, finding gaping holes in poor coverages and generating substantial gains. Even when Winston threw his first incomplete pass with more than seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, he overthrew a wide open Mike Williams with Adam Jones trailing in coverage. Running back Doug Martin easily found lanes, benefiting by missed tackles, overanxious pursuers, culminating in massive gains.

Tampa Bay easily navigated through Cincinnati's defense on an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, giving the Buccaneers a 7-0 lead. Thanks to Tampa's self-destruction through penalties, the Buccaneers were forced to punt on their second possession.

Offensive Line. As for Cincinnati's first-team offense, it was awful. One could argue... "it's just the preseason". No. Quality preseason work is judged by individual performances in which someone can build off of. Nothing positive came from Cincinnati's first-team offense. Kevin Zeitler struggled throughout the first quarter, failing to adjust to stunts and then losing a battle of strength during pure bull rushes. By the 11 minute mark in the second quarter, Dalton had been sacked three times and drilled on four other occasions.

A.J. Green. With 11:29 remaining in the second quarter, Andy Dalton aimed a big-armed fastball to his biggest play-maker. It should have been caught, but instead slipped through Green's hands and into the loving embrace of Bucs defensive back Alterraun Verner. Verner returned it 24-yards for the touchdown. Green generated 24-yards receiving on two receptions.

Andy Dalton. Despite the first interception clearly not being Dalton's fault, the second was. With 9:39 remaining in the second quarter, Dalton found Tyler Eifert in the seem. Two problems: 1) Eifert was covered low and high and 2) it was poorly overthrown. Safety Bradley McDougald intercepted the football, returned it 38 yards to the Bengals 12-yard line.

Dalton finished the game completing six of 13 passes for 62 yards passing, two picks and a passer rating of 15.7. On the other hand, I'm not sure if there are many quarterbacks who could withstand the pressure generated by Tampa Bay, and by extension, the lack of production by Cincinnati's interior offensive line.